Nehru Zoo authorities say this is to keep them healthy
The fitness bug seems to have spread to the animal world too and trim, fit and healthy appears to be the mantra for the animals in the zoo.
And to achieve this, carnivores at the Nehru Zoological Park these days are being made to fast for a day a week.
The zoo has more than 50 carnivores, including tigers, lions, panthers and jaguars and every Friday they are going without food.
According to officials, these animals live only on water on that day and are not provided their regular diet.
The usual daily diet for these animals includes boneless red meat. “We provide six kg of beef to female animals and about eight kg of it to the males,” says an official.
However, on Friday, the feed is held back from them and slowly, the animals too have come to accept the practice and even species such as jackal and wolf too are included.
An exemption is made for sick animals, pregnant or lactating ones for their diet plan is drawn separately and catered to accordingly. Also exempted are herbivores and those in the aviary since they neither need to fast nor can cope with such a practice.
Lack of exercise
Animals in the wild live by hunting, which not only involves considerable physical activity, but also requires going without food for days till they get a hunt. In captivity, however, there is hardly any exercise for them which could impact their overall fitness, health and also lead to excessive fat deposits, says P.Srinivas Reddy, the Nehru zoo's veterinary assistant surgeon.
The concept of making the animals fast at least one day in a week has been in vogue at the city zoo for quite some time but there were occasional breaks in it. “It was actually put in place after studies revealed the need for such a practice for wild animals in captivity,” informs an official.