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Updated: April 14, 2014 02:05 IST

Summer treat for zoo animals

P. Oppili
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The facilities will benefit over 1,500 creatures at the zoo. Photo: M. Prabhu
The Hindu
The facilities will benefit over 1,500 creatures at the zoo. Photo: M. Prabhu

Special diets, thatched roofs, sprinklers, water showers and shade nets are just some of the arrangements being put in place for the birds, animals and reptiles in captivity at Vandalur zoo.

The facilities will benefit over 1,500 creatures at the zoo.

The elephants are the most privileged ones. They have the luxury of roaming freely in a spacious enclosure, bigger than the Chepauk cricket stadium. A huge pond filled with water has been created for them and if they feel bored, they can wallow in the mud pit. Apart from these, the animals are also given a special ‘summer diet’ of fruits.

Gunny bags cover the ceilings in the terrestrial birds’ enclosure. Water is sprayed on these bags thrice a day. The ostrich, zebra and giraffe have been provided a different kind of luxury — water sprinklers.

Predator birds such as eagles and vultures, and others like hornbills, pelicans and herons have shade nets over their enclosures. These filter the sunrays and thereby, reduce the heat inside. Deer, bears, ostriches and zebras have been provided with pyramid-shaped thatched roof inside their enclosure, where they can rest during the hottest part of the day.

For the tigers and lions, a specially-designed four-foot-high wooden plank shed has been created. This will act as an enrichment (a tool to reduce boredom in animals) for them to rest during peak heat hours of the day. Chimpanzees in the zoo have not been left out either. They are also getting a special diet — lassi and tender coconut water.

Water trough for free-ranging animals

It is not just the animals in captivity that are getting special facilities. Even free-ranging animals like spotted deer, mongooses, monitor lizards and jackals are being factored in. Small, cement water troughs have been installed in 50 places inside the zoo. Water is filled in the troughs, once in two days.

Zoo authorities said, unlike in previous years, the number of visitors (including children) to the zoo was dwindling during the holiday months of April and May. This was mainly due to reopening of many schools in the city.

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