Mysore/Mysuru: She’s crazy like a fool, What about it Daddy Cool… goes the famous M. Boney music track.
With the onset of summer and increasing temperatures, Zoo denizens are being kept cool with water sprinklers, fruits and tender coconuts and lots of water to maintain hydration level.
Authorities at Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens (Mysuru Zoo) are taking special care to ensure the animals do not suffer from sweltering heat. The rising mercury levels have kept the Zoo authorities on their toes as protecting animals from summer heat is their top priority. As abundant water is the main necessity for the animals and birds, Zoo officials keep them hydrated with glucose, ORS and calcium tablets.
Water is being sprinkled on animals, especially the ones in the open like elephants, giraffes, zebras, camels, lions and chimpanzees. Like all living beings, animals in captivity too require attention to keep them healthy during sweltering heat. They get dehydrated quickly in the heat. The 129-year-old Zoo houses nearly 1,400 mammals, birds and reptiles including exotic species. Though the vast green cover in the 157-acre garden offers much-needed shade and the temperatures are a couple of notches down when compared to the city temperatures, water is being sprinkled on the bodies of animals once in three hours to keep them cool. The moated enclosures of all large animals are equipped with water sprinklers and jets.
Animals usually get stressed and dehydrated in hot weather and as such, drinking water has been provided in enclosures and ponds have been developed to ensure that they do not suffer from dehydration, Zoo Executive Director Ajit M. Kulkarni told Star of Mysore.
High water content
While ponds inside the enclosures of tigers, lions, cheetahs and leopards are kept full and refilled twice of thrice a day, the food given to herbivorous animals contain a lot of water content which include watermelons, musk-melons, bananas, oranges, soya bean milk, mosambis, grapes and cucumbers. Chimpanzees and African apes are fed with tender coconut water and vitamin tablets to help them withstand summer heat.
Ice cubes are being placed inside the enclosures of tigers and bears on a daily basis and ice blocks are placed inside the ponds of Himalayan bears too. Chimps get stressed by the heat because their body is covered by thick hair.
Apart from a cooler diet regiment, water is sprayed on them inside their holding rooms and ice blocks are dipped at their pools to keep the water chilled.
Mud ponds have been created for animals such as elephants, Indian gaur and rhinoceros. The mud on their body surface protects them from the heat. In addition, roofs of animal-holding rooms have been covered with reed grass and gunny bags and water is sprayed on the grass to maintain the temperature, he added.
“We also mix drinking water with electrolytes, multivitamins and minerals and are fed to birds to prevent dehydration. Usually when summer peaks, our veterinarians regularly monitor the animals and birds to check whether they are in any discomfort. In addition, ponds inside the Zoo are filled twice a day to ensure sufficient drinking water for the animals,” he explained.
It is not only the heat, but the animals also have to be protected from mosquitoes, so authorities have made special arrangements. The ponds from where they drink water are regularly cleaned. Veterinarians visit the enclosures of every animal every day and the keepers have been directed to inspect animal faeces regularly and to alert the authorities if they find any difference.