Traditionally, drinking lots of water has been a sure shot way to beat the heat when mercury soars high around this time of the year.
At the Delhi zoo, chimpanzee — the closest living relative of the humans from the hominidae family — is made to drink water as frequently as possible to keep cool. The National Zoological Park administrative machinery that had put in place all summer arrangements is ensuring effective implementation of the systems on a daily basis even as maximum temperature continued to hover around 42°C this week.
Making the chimpanzee drink water at regular intervals is one of the tasks of the zookeepers, who also ensure that animals gulp down glucose and eat watermelon, muskmelon and bael (bel patra) too to beat the heat.
The administration has been taking special care since 2007, when a German chimpanzee had died, apparently due to its inability to fight the heat. "For the chimpanzee, bear and monkey, we provide excess water and seasonal fruits like watermelons and cucumbers," said Riaz Khan, zoo curator (education).
While agri-nets and time-to-time water sprinkling takes care of the birds' aviary, for the deer, it is additional green fodder and shades. "However, it is very hard to ensure that the deer sits below the shades erected within their sprawling enclosures," he said.
The felines are given capsules through meat and also injected doses for strength. Their diet too is reduced by about 10% of the normal intake.