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Delhi zoo elephants await sugarcane diet

delhi Updated: Dec 16, 2012 00:54 IST
Nivedita Khandekar
Nivedita Khandekar
Hindustan Times
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Heera, Rajalakshmi and Shankar eagerly await for their favourite winter snack —sugarcane — which has been missing from their diet this season.

Heera and Rajalakshmi, the Indian elephant couple and Shankar, an African male elephant at the National Zoological Park — better known as Delhi zoo — are fed sugarcanes from November till February every year as a special addition to their diet during winter.

But for now, each of the three elephants are being given their usual diet of 200 kg green fodder, 60 kg tree fodder and 15 kg dry fodder, besides moong daal-bajra khichri with jaggery thrown into it.

But why the delay?

Every day, the veterinarian at the zoo inspects all food items when they are brought in by the supplier. Sources claimed that earlier, the supply of sugarcane had been stopped after repeated complaints of its poor quality. The zoo requires nearly 20,000 kg of sugarcane during the winter months.

Another official said, “It is relatively less cold this year. Till the time we receive sugarcane, we are substituting it with 2 kg jaggery.”

Riaz Khan, the zoo’s curator, said, “The re-tendering process through the ministry of environment and forests is a long procedure. This has caused the delay. (But) we are in the process of finalising the new supplier. By next week, the supply should be renewed.”