Special treats for Delhi zoo inmates to beat heat | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Special treats for Delhi zoo inmates to beat heat

Fifty coolers are in place as are special thatched roofs and sprinklers, potatoes have gone off the menu, and melons, cucumbers and mangoes have made their way in. Delhi zoo's 1,300 inmates, furry, feathery or otherwise, are set to chill out this summer.

delhi Updated: May 06, 2011 00:39 IST

Fifty coolers are in place as are special thatched roofs and sprinklers, potatoes have gone off the menu, and melons, cucumbers and mangoes have made their way in. Delhi zoo's 1,300 inmates, furry, feathery or otherwise, are set to chill out this summer.

"We are making special arrangements for the animals so that they don't develop any summer blues or illnesses. Coolers, special diets, specially thatched roofs are provided for the animals," zoo curator Riaz Khan said.

The day temperature is hovering at around 40 degrees Celsius these days. The first step taken by the authorities was to remove the sheets that were placed last winter in enclosures to protect inmates from cold winds. The second task was to install coolers for maximum air circulation.

"About 50 coolers have already been installed for various enclosures. The coolers are usually provided to the big cat family and chimpanzees so that they can combat the heat wave," Khan said.

He said apart from coolers, the areas where felines like tigers, lions, leopards and wild cats move have been provided sheds.

For enhanced cooling, moats around animal enclosures are filled with water and replaced frequently. Some changes have also been made in the diet charts of the animals. "For carnivorous animals, the meat intake is reduced by two kg. Usually they consume 12 kg of meat per day, now it has been reduced to 10 kg. To supplement it, we are giving them a lot of glucose water and fluids," Khan said.

A zoo keeper said: "Chimpanzees are given less of vegetables, particularly potatoes, during summer and more of fruits. They usually like to munch on melons, cucumber and watermelon...their favourites are mangoes. Sometimes ice creams are given as well."

As for herbivores, they are being fed a carbohydrate-rich diet that includes cucumber, papaya and watermelon. The authorities say they find it particularly difficult to shield deer since they roam around freely and can't be confined to a particular place. Not to forget that they are quite a lot in number.

Pneumonia, typhoid and heat strokes are common among the animals in summer, but regular checkups are carried out by veterinarians to good effect.

The zoo curator also said since the Yamuna water is polluted, it is not being used to fill the ponds. "We are using the Yamuna water only for gardening purposes. We are filling the ponds with tubewell water. Due to this, the avian population visiting the zoo is slowly depleting because of lack of fresh river water," Khan said.

Spread over an area of 240 acres, the Delhi Zoo houses over 1,300 varieties of mammals, reptiles and avian species. It is also home to many endangered species in India.