A ZOO EDUCATION Park for children, renovated lake with a waterfall and an interpretation centre are some of the additions that will soon be made to the Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park or Chhatbir Zoo.
The area for the children park has been earmarked and the construction is likely to start soon.
Chief education officer of the zoo Harpal Singh says, “The education park is going to be one of its kind in which we will be educating children about animals in a fun way. For example, we will introduce them to the kind of jumps of different animals. A monkey jumps in a particular manner and kangaroo in another.”
Measuring the height of children at the education park, they will be introduced to a particular animal. For example, if a toddler is two feet, he will be introduced to the animals which have the same height like a goat.
Elaborating on it, the chief education officer says, “In this way, children will become sensitive towards animals and will have more information. So, it’s a good combination of education and entertainment.”
At present, the zoo is spread over an area of 505 acres and it takes an entire day to visit the 78 reptiles, 764 types of birds, including ostrich and peacock, and 433 types of mammals, including the carnivorous tiger and leopard.
Other than building a thematic zoo entrance, the lake within the zoo campus is also being renovated. The lake will also have a waterfall and it will make the environment pleasant. Another attraction for the visitors is the recently renovated reptile centre. The reptile centre has python, rat snake, cobra and Bengal lizard.
Also in the pipeline is an interpretation centre. In the near future, the zoo plans to build an interpretation centre where the visitors will gain a better understanding of nature.
Zoo director Manish Kumar says, “All those who love nature will be happy to know about the all-new interpretation centre. The construction work for this centre is yet to start. At present, the renovation work of the main gate, education park, new visitor shelter is being done. In the next phase we plan to expand the lion and deer safari.”
The lion and deer safari are very popular in the zoo, says Harpal Singh. “The safaris are popular with the visitors. So, we have planned to renovate the lion and deer safari and expand these.”
He adds, “We have a master plan ready till 2030 and will be adding new things every year.”
With the onset of summers, water sprinklers have already been made functional. With the mercury on the rise, desert coolers and fans have been made available in the night shelters of all tigers, lions, bears and other feline or canines.
The zoo authorities have also ensured that mosquitoes don’t bite the carnivorous animals and the windows of the animal cells have been covered with a mesh to keep mosquito-free environment. However, to beat the heat for the herbivorous animals, the zoo authorities have created temporary huts made from bamboo and wooden logs. Shallow water pools have also been made in the elephant enclosure and deer safari. The cages of birds are covered with agro-net of 75 per cent density and jute mats to save the birds from the harsh sunlight.
Other than protecting the animals in the zoo from the sunrays, a special diet plan is formulated and served to them during the summer season. The bear owing to its thick fur feels very hot and is provided with 100-kg ice cube. Monkeys, bears and elephants are also provided with watermelons to remain cool.
To ensure that they remain active, they are fed Gulcon D powder mixed in the drinking water of all the carnivorous and omnivorous animals.
Also, the banana fruit is replaced with papaya and cabbage leaves with spinach leaves for animals and birds during the scorching hot weather. Among vegetables instead of radish, the animals are served cucumber to beat the heat.