Believe it or not but the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) and the safari, one of the most-visited places in Bangalore, does not have a proper underground drainage and water supply system.
Acknowledging the poor sanitation facilities in the park and surrounding areas, BBP's new executive director, R. Raju, said waste water was being let out of the park and that the entire system needed overhauling.
The park is home to nearly 1,400 birds and animals, encompassing 75 species from 10 countries. More than 11 lakh visitors visit it every year. However, the water supplied to the animals in the zoo, safari and animal rescue centre has to be sanitised and improved upon. The underground drainage system also needs to be upgraded. He had already set into motion a programme to ensure better drainage and sanitation in the park.
Dr. Raju said herbivores would be fed every day between 11 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. and carnivores, between 3 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. Their food will, henceforth, be categorised according to their needs. Pregnant and lactating animals will be provided with a healthy diet. Young animals and newborns would be given supplements needed for their growth.
The beat system has been reorganised so that park employees can identify cubs and newborns that need a healthy diet.
The park has three veterinarians and one more would be appointed shortly. The resident veterinarian will inspect all the animals and give a report on their health condition by 1.30 p.m. daily. Towards evening, BBP's deputy director will conduct another inspection to ascertain the animals' wellbeing.
He said being kept in isolation is one of the reasons for animal stress. All single animals had been identified and the BBP would get in touch with other zoological parks in the country and abroad to get a mate for them.
Signages giving information on an animal and its habitat would be improved.
The rescue centre houses 55 animals, most of them old and ailing, having been brought to the park from circuses. Dr. Raju said since Friday, the wireless system, which had been in a state of disuse, was once again being used for communication.
The BBP was working on its website which would enable visitors to buy tickets online. An information desk for employees and for the media will become operational shortly.
Efforts would be made to improve the zoo outreach programme and educating children.
The outer wall of the park would be strengthened and solar fencing installed to prevent entry of wild animals into the park. This step was taken after a leopard jumped on the park premises last week.
On the demand of the staff for better pay and regularisation of their services, he said the first is before the Finance Department. There are at least 200 casual employees and their services could be regularised once the Government came up with cadre and recruitment rules.
There is no dearth of funds and the BBP is operating on a surplus budget. While its expenditure — including food and medicines, veterinary care for animals and staff salary is around Rs. 6.75 crore — its income is around Rs. 9 crore.