As the heatwave tightens its grip, officials at the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park at Chhatbir, popularly called the Chhatbir Zoo, have started getting ice slabs and special diet for the animals.
“We started the summer programme for the animals about two weeks back when the temperature rose. Till then, the nights were cool and the animals were fine,” said Harpal Singh, animal manager of the zoo, adding, “We make two types of changes for summer, environmental and dietary.”
Desert coolers and large fans have been installed near the cages of big cats while ice slabs are being used to keep cool the cages of high-altitude animals like the Himalayan black bear. “For the bears, 16 quintals of ice is needed in a day,” said Singh.
“We keep the gates of the cages open in case the animal is feeling hot outside and wants to come in. Ice slabs are kept in the enclosure. People sometimes complain that they are not able to see the animal as it goes in, but its health is our priority,” said Sonu Kumar, keeper of the white tiger enclosure.
Zoo director Manish Kumar said they also give animals diet supplements. These include watermelons, papaya, bananas and melons to deer, monkeys, bears and some other animals.
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Glucose supplements are mixed in the drinking water of all animals and birds. The animals are also bathed thrice a day. For the bears, a sprinkler is always switched on. Ponds in the enclosures are filled with water for the animals to take a dip whenever they like.