Beating the sizzling heat, the Delhi Zoo way

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Water-rich food, ayurvedic medicines, sugar and a bread- free diet are all on the menu

Water-rich food laced with ayurvedic medicines and a bread free diet is being provided to over 1,300 inmates of the Delhi Zoo to beat the heat and stay healthy.

The birds and animals in the 240-acre park are also being kept cool by use of water sprinklers and coolers.

Elaborating on the steps being taken to make the inmates comfortable during the summer months, veterinary officer Dr. Paneer Selvam said: “For the summer we have taken-off bread from the diet plan and replaced it with rice, milk and sugar which is lighter and more nutritious for the animals.”

“Also water-rich fruits, including melon, cucumber, leafy vegetable have been brought in to ensure that the diet is not heavy for the animals and that they stay comfortable during the harsh summer months in Delhi,” he added. “While the larger animals are given coolers and fans, water sprinklers will be switched on for larger birds, including emu, ostrich etc. We are also providing cool fumes for Asiatic birds to control the humidity levels in their enclosures,’’ said Dr. Selvam.

Summer months are especially hard on the Zoo inmates with diseases, including pneumonia, typhoid and heat strokes, being common.

“Regular medical check-ups are carried out to ensure that animals are healthy and are offered immediate intervention in case of need. Their diet intake and activity levels during early mornings and evenings are also good indicators of the overall wellbeing of the animal,” said the vet.

With temperatures in the Capital going well over 45 degrees Celsius during summer months and the intermittent rains heightening the humidity levels, the Zoo staff ensure that water and essential vitamin loss in animals is controlled by giving them glucose and electrolyte.

“We have removed the straw and wooden platforms that were put for inmates during winter months. Also the windows have all been opened for proper air circulation and round-the-clock fresh water supply is maintained. Vitamin C is also being provided to the inmates,’’ said Dr. Selvam.

The Zoo has pressed into action about 80 coolers for maximum air circulation.

“Coolers are usually provided to the Himalayan black bear pair, lions, leopards and chimpanzees besides the fans and sheds for an afternoon nap,” noted Zoo curator R. Khan. Moats around animal enclosures are also filled with water so that they can take dips to beat the heat.

Dr. Selvam said: “During summers we see reduced appetite in animals. Carnivores register a drop in their meat consumption by about 1-2 kg.”

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