Mumbai: Sunshine at zoo, chill time for animals

The zoo needs 50 kg of meat, 300 kg of grass, and 60 kg of fish every day for its animals and birds

SHEFALI PARAB-PANDITUpdated: Friday, May 20, 2022, 11:00 PM IST
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Mumbai: Sunshine at zoo, chill time for animals |

Mumbai: The residents of Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan, or Byculla zoo, are chilling in their enclosures even though the heat wave is brutish all across. As per zoo officials, every exhibit has running water bodies and shaded areas to protect the fauna, and the diet includes vegetables, fruits, frozen meat and bones. The zoo needs 50 kg of meat, 300 kg of grass, and 60 kg of fish every day for its animals and birds.

Earlier, the Byculla zoo had 29 enclosures, which were reduced to 18, some of which were made spacious after revamp. The new enclosures have viewing galleries built to give animals a feel of their natural habitat, and animals can immerse in water to keep their skin cool during summers, zoo officials said. The nine penguins at the zoo, which have a temperature-controlled enclosure, are specially fed bombil (Bombay duck). The enclosure is equipped with chillers and CCTV cameras for 24/7 surveillance and is monitored by veterinarians and engineers. Sloth bears and elephants climb the pool to cool off; animals like leopards seek shade, while elephants are often seen covered with water.

A biologist at the zoo, Abhishek Satam said, “The keepers at the zoo regularly water the mud and grass in the enclosures and nearby areas to keep it cool. Further, their diet is planned according to their weight. Animals like sloth bears, monkeys, and elephants are given ice cakes made from summer fruits like jackfruit, and mangoes. While tigers and leopards are fed ice cakes of beef (buffalo meat) sometimes in summer.” He said enrichment activities are also conducted to keep them active in summer.

“The zoo requires around 21,000 kg of meat, besides fish, vegetables, and fruits annually, for which the BMC spends nearly Rs 2 crore. The civic body has now invited a tender for the same. Also, all precautions are taken to keep animals comfortable during these months,” said the director of the zoo, Dr Sanjay Tripathy.

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