Rustle of dry leaves, distant subdued growls and an occasional flutter of wings near the tiny water pool are the only sounds that can be heard on a hot sultry day at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park. Summer may not be an awaited season for most of us, but it is certainly not for the inmates of the zoo. As the sun beats down mercilessly the muted silence at the zoo park, which otherwise brims with activity, sums up the feeling of the animals and birds there. With the mercury shooting up steadily, zoo authorities have geared up sparing no effort to create cool zones for the animals and birds to give full protection from the burning heat.

For the avian friends, the cages have been covered with palm leaf mats, which screen the sunrays and reduce the heat considerably. Special khus-khus mats have been provided to the exotic African parrots to keep them protected from the harsh heat. According to the zoo officials, when the atmospheric temperature goes up, the metabolic rate of the animals goes down. Therefore, the first sign that the animals have been gripped by the summer heat is a reduced appetite. “We are giving plenty of liquids to the animals including seasonal fruits like watermelon and pineapple. Polydin and glucose are added in water. Special care has to be provided to the old animals in the zoo during the hot season. We give them milk with B-complex syrup to help them stay fit,” said the zoo curator Rahul Pandey. And for the reptiles and bears, water sprinklers are working round the clock to keep them wet and cool.

Three additional water coolers will be installed shortly. The summer is dreaded period for the old inmates of the zoo. The aged lot includes two lionesses, two tigers and two leopards that have to struggle through yet another summer. Cool roof paints have been provided to their night crawls.

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