With the onset of summer and soaring daytime temperatures, authorities at Indira Gandhi Zoological Park are taking special care to ensure animals don’t suffer from the sweltering heat. Just like humans, animals in captivity too require attention to keep them in the pink of health. They get dehydrated quickly in the heat.
Indira Gandhi Zoological Park in Vizag, which thrown open in May 1977, covers an area of 625 acres of land, houses nearly 90 species of animals numbering about 810 are present in the Zoo. The zoo has 77 exclusive enclosures for different sections of primates, carnivores, lesser carnivores, small mammals, reptiles, ungulates and birds caged in their natural ambiance.
Apart from putting cool roof paints on night houses to covering enclosures with palmyra leave shades, the zookeepers set water sprinklers to ensure that the animals are kept cool and well hydrated. And for the aviary section that can house exotic birds like varieties of macaw and other small birds, the cages are kept cool with Khus Khus mats and periodical spraying of water.
Speaking to Hello Vizag, Zoo Curator Nandani Salaria said the animals require special care during summer. So, we set 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 heat wave. Also, ponds inside the enclosures of tigers, lions, cheetahs and leopards are kept full and refilled twice or thrice a day.
This time special water sprinklers for reptiles have also been kept in place. According to zoo veterinarians, when the atmospheric temperature rises, the metabolic rate of animals goes down. The first sign of an animal being gripped by the summer heat is a reduced appetite. So, apart from the usual food, we also give 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. “A set of routine has been put in place for the oldest animals like white tiger Sirish and Indian Gaur Raja, for 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 a funding crunch as gate revenues remain low compared to pre-COVID times. In summer, power consumption for the zoo is generally high and we incur Rs. 2 lakh expenditure on account of power bills in Indira Gandhi Zoological Park.