Over 350 zoo inmates of a specialised zoo located in Darjeeling, known for its conservation and breeding programmes of highly endangered animals, are facing the heat of the ongoing shutdown with food supplies fast drying up. The Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park (PNHZP), popularly known as Darjeeling Zoo, is a specialized zoo known for its conservation and breeding programmes of Red Panda, Snow Leopards, Tibetan Wolf and highly endangered animal species of eastern Himalayas. It houses animals of 49 species.
But with the supplies drying up, officials of this largest high altitude zoo in the country, are apprehensive about how to arrange food for the animals if the indefinite shutdown continues for a few more days.
Zoo director Piar Chand said, on a daily basis the zoo requires nearly 100 kg of meat, 80 kg fodder, 50-60 kg fruits, 50 kg grams, wheat and flour. “Actually we have stock of fruits, grams, wheat for the next few days. We have a ready source of fodder for herbivores as there are forests nearby. But if the shutdown continues for a few more days, then arranging for such huge quantity of meat and fruits would be a problem,” Chand told PTI.
Chand said, “meat is being supplied by few locals but supply of chicken has completely stopped.” While taking about alternative route to arrange food, Chand said,” If the shutdown continues, then we will take the help of administration and political parties in the hills to arrange for supply of fresh food. We can’t let the animals fast.”
Chand said, with the shutdown on for the last five days the zoo revenue has also been hit. Darjeeling zoo is also a member of ZIMS (zoological information management system), which is a trustee organisation for conservation of animals from the Asian region. The inhabitants of the zoo ranges from mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds.