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Delhi zoo in crying need of attention

Delhi Zoo is one of the major attractions of our City. And keeping in mind its popularity, one hopes to see it in good shape. But, on the contrary, the zoo and its inmates need a lot of attention by the higher authorities and administration. This vast area is home to hundreds of animals, birds, reptiles and other small creatures. The water bodies are ill-maintained, murky and foul smelling making it unhealthy for the animals and birds who haunt these small ponds to escape the scorching heat. To top it all, the soaring mercury in the national capital is also making the lives of the animals miserable in the zoo.

 

The authorities claim they have made special arrangements to keep the animals and birds cool and comfortable in the hot summer months and desert coolers and fans have been installed in all animal enclosures. But, are fans and coolers enough for animals like tigers, jaguars, etc, given that even humans find it difficult to cope with the Delhi summer with just a cooler or a fan. Making the scene worse are the cages, which are so small and constricting that a tiger can barely stretch itself. Among the carnivores, including the big cats, meat-intake has been reduced by a few kilogrammes, while water intake has been doubled for all animals. Now, they eat nearly 10 kg of buffalo meat everyday as compared to 13-15 kg during winter, inform thezoo authorities.

 

The coolers inside the enclosures too are in a dilapidated condition. Metrolife spoke to Riyaz Ahmad Khan, curator of the zoo about the condition and upkeep of the zoo and the animals. “A lot of fluid is given to the animals and coolers also run all day long inside their enclosures,” he said. Ask him about the dirty, algae infested water in the zoo, and the curator has an explanation. “The pumps are under renovation and that is why we are not able to clean the water bodies. Also, we deliberately keep the water a bit dirty because it helps to give birth to insects, which are food items for the birds.

 

And, the smell might also be from the fishes in the pond.” There is hardly any cleanliness inside the enclosures, which are dirty with blood stains all over. The coat of white tigers have acquired a dull reddish yellow tinge,despite the fact that “They (tigers) bathe two times a day and are given adequate water to keep them hydrated, ” according to the zoo curator. But the other issue of concern is the callous and insensitive attitude of the visitors. Despite notices and dustbins placed in every corner, the area is littered with plastic bottles, empty tetrapacks of juices, chips and wafer wraps.

 

Unsurprisingly, the dust bins remain empty! An enthusiastic bunch of students in a bid to see some ‘live action’ by the tigers, were spotted throwing water bottles and stones at the big cat in a perverse attempt to provoke it into snarling. Unfortunately, there was no one to keep a check on them. Defending this, the curator, said, “We have guards all over the zoo who keep a tab on the visitors. We often catch people littering and impose fine on them.”


Decan Herald, New Delhi, Tuesday 27th May 2014