Even as mercury soars to 47-48 degrees Celsius in peak summer, inside the night house, where the big cats are kept in steel cages, two large, heavy-duty desert coolers and four 'toofan' fans whirl non-stop to maintain the ideal temperature -- between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius -- for the animals.
According to zoo curator Riaz Khan, “40-45 heaters will be installed in enclosures across the zoo, although Rita, the 58-year-old chimpanzee has already got one since she is aged. The gibbons too have been provided heaters.”
The last time such inbreeding took place at the Delhi Zoo was in 1991, when yellow-striped Royal Bengal tiger Sundar and white Royal Bengal tigress Shanti mated, and had two offspring- one white and one yellow.
"Painted storks usually come to the zoo by mid or late August, sometimes even September with the sole purpose of nesting... but this time an advanced party arrived a week ago. By September, we expect over 800 painted storks as they migrate from the Himalayas,” said zoo curator Riaz Khan.
As Delhi complains of the heat, try being in Riaz Khan’s shoes. His one inmate is used to -2 degrees Celsius, the other to 40-degree temperatures; the biggest weighs in at 2,500 kg, the smallest is lighter than 15 gm; one calls for wheelbarrow khichdi meals, the other for kheer. 176 acres, 1,500-plus creatures, 200 […]