Come Sundays and holidays, the city's only recreational spot is chock-a-block with children, with parents eager to spend some quality time with their loved ones. But of late, tipplers and lovebirds seem to be jostling for elbow space at the amusement centre.

Whether the animals and birds at the Corporation Zoo find their newfound home cosy or not, certainly romancing teenagers and tipplers have made it a haven to satisfy themselves in their favourite pastime. And embarrassed parents of children try their best to make their wards look the other way for fear of being 'influenced by these scenes played out daily at the recreation centre.

On Thursday, a youth from Pollachi was seen sitting comfortably and enjoying his favourite drink not caring a bit about people moving around him. Later, the person, hailing from Pollachi, was caught and let off with a warning, said Zoo Director K. Asokan. “If these practices go unchecked, neither the parents nor the schools would be interested to bring in the children,” said V. Ravikumar, a resident of Eachanari.

Vijayalakshmi, professor in a city college, was worried that children would see nothing wrong in teenagers frolicking at the zoo or persons taking a swig of their favourite drink.

Similarly, the adjacent VOC Park also has, of late, become an attraction for persons looking to have a drink on the sly and lovers seeking to hold hands and whisper sweet nothings.

When contacted, Zoo Director K. Asokan said that manpower shortage was an impediment to keep a watch over such persons finding comfortable space inside the 4.61 acre Zoo. However, he said, with Thursday's episode, the staff at the Zoo would be asked to examine the bags of visitors and also do patrolling to chase romancing couples and those consuming liquor away.

Corporation Commissioner T.K. Ponnusamy said that security would be stepped up quickly making it out-of-bounds for lovebirds and people wanting to consume liquor.

More In: Coimbatore