Mumbai shuts down Byculla zoo to counter coronavirus threat
Mumbai shuts down Byculla zoo to counter coronavirus threat
BL Soni

Mumbai: Several zoos in Maharashtra and other states are struggling to get food and drinking water supply for upkeep and healthcare of captive wild animals.

Citing the struggle of zoo managements, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has written to the respective state governments to specify the supply of food and drinking water and other activities required for the upkeep of wild animals housed in zoos as 'essential services'.

"A number of states and Union territories have imposed lockdown or curfew, shutting everything except essential services such as police, health, groceries, banks, pharmacies, petrol pumps etc. Despite several zoos have been shut for the public, services for the upkeep and healthcare of captive wild animals seems to have been overlooked," said Dr S P Yadav, Member Secretary CZA.

He added, "After receiving phone calls and messages from the zoo management we learnt that certain zoos are facing hardships in the supply of food, drinking water, upkeep and healthcare of animals in captivity due to restrictions amid lockdown imposed to contain Covid19."When contacted BS Naikwade, Superintendent of Siddharth Zoo in Aurangabad said, "Restrictions imposed are being implemented stringently across the zoo.

On Tuesday morning, our staff on their way to the zoo were stopped by the police and even beaten up after they failed to identify themselves. We have now issued letters to all food and water supply transport services.

We have also distributed ID cards to contractual staff as well." Naikwade said, that the management is now looking at increasing the food storage to prepare for curfew or lockdown to prevent food shortage in the near future.

"We will store meat and other food required for our animal in case the situation worsens," he added. Director of Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan (Byculla Z00) Dr Sanjay Tripathi said, " We haven't faced any problems with food and water supply to the zoo so far. However, with the CZA letter issued all-state government, I don't think there will be any problems in the future too.

We have already taken measures to maintain hygiene in the zoo especially around animal enclosures even more than before." The CZA’s letter also comes a day after BJP Lok Sabha MP and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi tweeted an appeal to all Indians to feed as many stray animals as possible to help them survive.

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