Zoo officials take special steps to keep animals cool this summer

A royal Bengal tiger walks near the water sprinklers to cool off at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park as temperatures rise in Visakhapatnam on Monday.   | Photo Credit: DEEPAK KR

As the city sizzles under soaring day time temperatures, the authorities of Indira Gandhi Zoological Park are gearing up with special arrangements to protect the 810 animals of 90 species from the sweltering heat.

From putting cool roof paints on night houses to covering enclosures with palmyra leave shades and setting up water sprinklers, the zoo keepers are ensuring that the animals are kept cool and well hydrated. In the aviary section that houses many exotic birds like varieties of macaw and other small birds, the cages are kept cool with khus khus mats and periodical spraying of water.

The animals are at present housed in 77 enclosures spread across the 625 acres of the zoo park.

“We are setting up fans in enclosures for animals like wild dog, panther, chimpanzee, white tiger and hyena. Apart from these, we are also preparing sheds in the enclosure to provide protection from the heatwave,” zoo curator Nandani Salaria told The Hindu.

This time special water sprinklers for reptiles have also been kept in place. According to the zoo veterinarians, when the atmospheric temperature rises, the metabolic rate of animals goes down. A reduced appetite is the first sign of an animal being gripped by the summer heat. In addition to the usual food, summer specials like watermelon and cucumber which have a rich water content are fed to the animals. “In addition to these, we also provide glucose and B complex in the diet,” Ms. Salaria said.

The summer can be particularly challenging for the oldest animals of IGZP — white tiger Sirish and Indian Gaur Raja.

“A set of routine has been put in place for the oldest animals such as administering supplements like Vitamin B Complex. We are also closely monitoring them to ensure their good health,” Ms. Salaria added.

Like most zoos across the country, the IGZP is battling the challenges due to fund crunch as gate revenues remain low compared to pre-COVID times. In summer, power consumption for zoo is generally high. Every year during the summer months, power bills alone amount to ₹2 lakh in Indira Gandhi Zoological Park.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 9:19:53 AM |

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