Coolers, sprinklers help Delhi Zoo animals beat the summer heat
Posted on May 11 2014 | IANS
By Shradha Chettri and Rupesh Dutta, New Delhi, May 11 : Coolers, water sprinklers and seasonal summer food like beetroot and watermelon are some of the special arrangements Delhi Zoo has made to help the animals and birds beat the sweltering summer heat.
"Animals are like all of us so we make special arrangements during the summer when the temperature hovers over 40 degree Celsius. We take utmost care so that they remain untroubled," Amitabh Agnihotri, director of the National Zoological Park, told IANS.
The tigers, lions, jaguar, bears, wolves and many others are provided with personal desert coolers housed near their cages. The desert coolers run round the clock.
While these coolers give them respite from the heat, the cages are also equipped with exhaust fans.
Also, when they go out of the cages, their enclosures are protected from sunlight with overhead nets.
With summers approaching, the wooden planks placed on the floor of the cages are also removed - this move helps the animals stay cool.
"Along with all this facility to cool them, there are also spray pumps which occasionally sprinkles water on them," R.A.Khan, Delhi zoo's curator, told IANS.
As abundant water is the main necessity for the animals and birds, zoo officials keep them hydrated with glucose, ORS and calcium tablets.
The National Zoological Park spread over 176 acres is home to about 1,556 different birds and animals. In the past few months birds like ostrich, golden pheasants,partridges and black swan has found their homes in the zoo.
"During summers the food that is given to them is also reduced as their diets are mixed with seasonal food. Meat given to the carnivorous animals are reduced by one-two kg," Khan told IANS.
Watermelon, muskmelon, bananas for carbohydrate nourishment and beetroot becomes an important ingredient of their diet during the summers.
"Wood apple (Bel) juice are also given to them to clean their stomach and they undergo regular de-worming exercise," said Khan.
It is not only the heat, but the animals also have to be protected from mosquitoes, so authorities made special arrangements beginning April.
"The ponds from where they drink water are regularly cleaned. But in many of the ponds gambusia fishes are put in to stop the mosquito breeding. These fishes eats the mosquito larvae so that there is no breeding at all," said Khan.
Added Agnihotri: "We have also planted trees around the cages. The plants that are grown are fast growing plants like bamboo, fig etc. This means that they get extra green cover."
The vicinity inhabited by chimpanzees and hollow gorilla's have thicker plantation to give them a proper jungle like environment.
"Chimpanzees are vulnerable to more than 140 of the same diseases as humans. They are more likely to fall prey to viruses, parasites, and other pathogens. Wire mesh grilles are fixed in the entire vicinity to protect them from all kind of virus and
bacteria," he said.
Agnihotri said as the requirement for water increases during summers, they have already notified the Delhi Jal board (DJB).
The zoo authorities are also making special arrangements for the visitors too.
"We have plans to make the entrance more inviting to the visitors. We are also focused on improving the cafeteria and other facilities. We also want to upgrade basic amenities so that the visitors have memorable experiences," he said.
Delhi zoo sees footfalls of 5,000 to 6,000 on weekdays and 12,000 to 13,000 on weekends.
(Shradha Chettri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org; Rupesh Dutta can be contacted at email@example.com)