Staff Reporter

Less than 1,000 visitors admitted on first day

Animal keepers sore over lack of protective clothing

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city zoo, that was closed for the past one month due to the prevalence of the Foot and Mouth Disease, reopened to visitors on Wednesday morning. Less than 1,000 visitors were admitted to the zoo on the opening day. The gate collection was less than Rs. 10,000.

Visitors had to step through foot dips while entering and exiting the zoo. The dips have been put in place to prevent the entry and/or exist of pathogens from the zoo premises through visitors’ footwear. No restrictions were placed on the movement of visitors.

As part of stepping up the sanitary measures the authorities would issue supply order for one pair of gloves and a mask to each zoo employee here and the one at Thrissur. This will be a temporary measure, the director of zoos and museums Elcy George said.

“The zoo has written to the Government for sanction for bulk purchase of gloves, masks and protective clothing for the zoo staff. As per procedure we have to tender the purchase of these items. Government sanction is awaited for this,” she said.

Animal keepers at the zoo are sore over what they see as the indifference of the zoo authorities in issuing gloves, masks and protective clothing to them. “The technical committee set up after the FMD outbreak had recommended that animal keepers be given protective material. The team from the Southern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory also called for the same. This was in July,” an animal keeper said. The zoo is also awaiting a reply from the Corporation on the issue of identifying a site for disposal of waste generated. Till then the zoo plans to award a contract for daily removal of waste. Quotations will be invited for this shortly.