A veggie jackal that loves tarbooz

A JACKAL in its vegetarian avatar can be a most intriguing sight and is as rare as a rainbow in June. Even for Kanpurites, the sight of the jackal housed in the Kanpur Zoo, gorging itself on watermelons, is still to lose its novelty.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2006 00:11 IST

A JACKAL in its vegetarian avatar can be a most intriguing sight and is as rare as a rainbow in June. Even for Kanpurites, the sight of the jackal housed in the Kanpur Zoo, gorging itself on watermelons, is still to lose its novelty.

As a tractor- trolley carrying fruit, meat and green vegetables stops near the enclosure of the jackal in the zoo, the carnivorous animal becomes impatient to receive its share. Zookeepers place meat before the animal and it refuses to accept it. It keeps on gazing at the meal servers till they understand its demand.

The animal starts howling if the servers delay in serving him. As soon as the meal servers offer it a juicy watermelon, the jackal jumps for joy and begins to devour it. The meat tray returns untouched.

Watermelon has been the weakness of the rhino and chimpanzee. They eat more than two full-sized watermelons at a time. Watermelon is served to the animals by cutting it in front of the enclosures to avoid cut- fruit infection, he said.

Zoo Vet Rajiv Tripathi told the Hindustan Times that he had never seen jackals eat watermelon. “They are carnivorous and they cannot survive without having meat. But the jackal at the zoo was actually an exception, he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Tripathi said that in order to protect animals from common body salt loss, various methods are applied to different animals. For deer and zebra salt bricks were kept in their respective enclosures so that they could lick it to aggravate the demand for water. Chimpanzee, monkey and hippopotamus were given citric foods including oranges in bulk quantity to avoid salt loss, he said.

Besides, the quantity of anti-oxidant medicines has been increased in the feed served to birds and other small animals.

The moat of the tiger, bear and chimpanzee are filled with fresh water every day, despite long hours of power cuts in the day. “We manage to operate the tube well in the odd hours of the night when the power supply is restored for a long period. Since the bird enclosure is situated in the forest like situation, they remain unaffected by the heat” He said.

He, however, said that it was encouraging that in the most inclement weather, almost all animals were hale and hearty.

First Published: Jun 03, 2006 00:11 IST