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Home for the aged animals

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Cooling off: A tiger in the pool.
Cooling off: A tiger in the pool.

NIVEDITA GANGULY

The aged and the traumatised animals, rescued from the circus are finding the Animal Rescue Centre, a haven.

Twenty-year-old Kumar was brought in a badly bruised state from a circus company to the Animal Rescue Centre (ARC) here in 2001. With the care of the officials and doctors, the Royal Bengal tiger regained his health in a matter of two months and is now one of the healthy inmates of the ARC.

Home sweet home

An ‘old age home' for 54 animals (42 lions and 12 tigers), the ARC has been providing support to these animals, most of which have well crossed their average span of existence. After years of muted existence these lions and tigers, once subjected to fiendish cruelty in circuses, are now leading a healthy and normal life within the pristine quiet surroundings of the ARC.

While the excellent support of the centre gave a new life to these animals, a weak body constitution makes them vulnerable to the slightest of health problems. Summer months are especially crucial for them when the overbearing heat beats them down. The ARC officials have been on their toes to make sure that these aged lot sail through the difficult hot days without any hindrance. “Glucose and calcium are mixed with milk and egg and given to the inmates every day in the morning. Three to four kg. of meat is fed to the aging animals daily,” says zoo curator Rahul Pandey.

More than 70 animals were brought to the ARC in the year 2001. Since then, many of them have died due to old age and fragile conditions. The ARC lost two of its oldest lions in the past few days due to old age leading to multiple organ failure.

When they were brought here, the ARC animals had visible signs of electrical shocks given on their foreheads by circus managers to make them drowsy and fit for handling during the show. Some have been anguished for too long to be able to fend for themselves even in protected enclosures. Many, however, have responded to the care and are released in the day crawl enclosures where they are allowed to roam about in fenced wilderness.


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