“What is IUCN red-listed animal?” asked Aman Mishra, pointing at an information board on vulture’s enclosure at Kamla Nehru zoo in Indore.
Nihar Prulekar, curator and education officer at the zoo, replied that it means the survival of that animal is threatened. “If an animal is red-listed by International Union for Conservation of Nature, it means that it is in small numbers now, and if we don’t protect them, they will extinct.”
This was just one of the many queries that participants raised at the Indore zoo’s young zookeeper workshop on Sunday, an initiative aimed at imparting insights into a day in life of a zookeeper.
Around 21 youngsters, aged between 12 and 20, took part in the workshop.
“We introduce to participants different animals, their habits and diets. Once they develop interest in reading the behaviour of animals, they will be taught on how to feed them,” said zookeeper Rajesh.
Prulekar said the participants are observant and inquisitive, while answering Dhruva Mishra, a Class 8 girl, who queried why salt bricks were kept in enclosure of Sambar Deer. “Sambars like licking salt, it gives them calcium. Since such salt bricks are not available in wild, they lick their horns, which contain salt and calcium,” Prulekar said.
JAMUNA TO MAKE FRIENDS
After Royal Bengal tigress Jamuna tried to escape from her enclosure twice a month, the zoo authorities have decided that since the enclosure is too small for her, she should be shifted to a bigger enclosure, where four other big cats -- B1, Ganga, Adam and Kamlesh – are currently housed.
“Currently Jamuna is put in cage. We are now introducing her with the other tigers during their feeding time. This way, we get to understand her behaviour in a group. If they are sharing food without a fight, they are warming up as friends. Once Jamuna establishes a bond with others, we would shift her,” Prulekar said.
Earlier, Jamuna and Lucky were put in an enclosure, from where Jamuna leaped out twice.