Quarantine shelter for anacondas, open space for tigers

The Public Works Department have finally initiated two long-overdue projects in the city zoo. One of the projects now being completed on a war footing is the setting up of a quarantine shelter behind the reptile house for the seven anacondas to be brought from the Dehiwala Zoo in Sri Lanka. A host of clearances from different ministries, including Agriculture, is required for an overseas deal of this sort. Unless the shelter is done, the paperwork will be delayed, an official said.

No makeshift arrangement would do as it must be approved by a quarantine officer, a veterinarian who would assess the structure before certifying it as suitable for being the first home of the reptile.

The greatest concern is the spread of diseases. The enclosure has to be sealed so that even if the reptiles being brought from another country are carrying diseases, there is no risk of infection.

Work is underway to build such a secure environment and the reptile house at the zoo has been closed for the past one and a half months. The entrance to the quarantine must be separate and the foreign animals must acclimatise during this phase, explained zoo veterinarian Jacob Alexander. A ‘multi-purpose’ shelter of this sort also needs to be attached with a separate waste disposal mechanism. The discharge from the snakes and any waste produced here must be collected in a tank, treated with disinfectants before it can be disposed of, he added, stressing the importance of such bio-security measures.

For tigers

The second project is for the tigers. The seven tigers in the city zoo have been denied any open space unlike the other felines here such as lions and leopards. Since renovation of the enclosure moat went wrong in 2011, all work here had been abandoned until this December. Workers have levelled the walls of the moat and all that remains is for the cages, used to transfer the tiger to the enclosure, to be repaired. Once that is also done, two tigers can be let into the open enclosure at a time.

The road tarring work on the zoo premises will also begin shortly.