Delhi Zoo takes steps to keep animals cool
New Delhi: Fifty coolers are in place, as are special thatched roofs and sprinklers; potatoes have gone off the menu, and melons, cucumbers and mangoes have made their way in.
Delhi Zoo's 1,300 inmates, furry, feathery or otherwise, are set to chill out this summer.
"We are making special arrangements for the animals so that they don't develop any summer blues or illnesses. Coolers, special diets [and] specially thatched roofs are provided for the animals," zoo curator Riaz Khan told IANS.
With day temperature averaging 40 degrees Celsius these days, the first step taken by authorities was to remove the sheets that were placed last winter in enclosures to protect animals from cold winds. The second task was to instal coolers to ensure maximum air circulation.
"About 50 coolers have already been installed for various enclosures. The coolers are usually provided to the big cat family and chimpanzees so that they [are protected from] the heat wave," Khan said.
He said apart from coolers, areas where felines such as tigers, lions, leopards and wild cats can move have been provided. For enhanced cooling, moats around animal enclosures will be filled with water and replaced frequently. Some changes have also been made in the diet charts of the animals.
"For carnivorous animals, the meat intake is reduced by two kilograms. Usually they consume 12 kilograms of meat per day, now it has been reduced to 10 kilograms. To supplement it, we are giving them a lot of glucose water and fluids," Khan said.
One zookeeper said: "Chimpanzees are given less vegetables [and tubers], particularly potatoes, during summer and more fruits. They usually like to munch on melons, cucumbers and watermelon... their favourites are mangoes. Sometimes ice creams are given as well."
Herbivores are fed a carbohydrate-rich diet that includes cucumber, papaya and watermelon.
The Himalayan black bear pair and their cub are from a cool climate and, therefore, are given more attention. They have a fan to themselves now.
The white tigers, brought in from Siberia, will have to cool themselves in the moat waters. Authorities said they find it particularly difficult to shield deer since they roam around freely and can't be confined to a particular place. Not to forget that they are quite a lot in number.
"We usually provide greenery in their enclosure and also use water sprinklers," the zookeeper said.