Summer holidays means a visit to the local zoo with the children. But, Bengaluru is going through a heat wave and severe water shortage, how best do the animals cope? On Monday, the city recorded its highest temperature.
The heat has not deterred the visitors, especially children, to the popular Bannerghatta Biological Park in Bengaluru. Some 2000 to 3000 and (7000 during the weekends) visit the zoo every day. But not to worry, the zoo authorities are ensuring that that there is enough water for the animals to stay cool in the hottest ever summer in Bengaluru.
The zoo, situated in some 160 acres of land, has four lakes, of which one has dried up and three bore-wells, of which one has dried up. “But we have sufficient groundwater, we still have 19 old bore-wells we can tap,” says Santosh Kumar, the Chief Conservator of Forests and Executive Director of the Bannerghatta Biological Park.
Santosh Kumar says, “Bengaluru never used to be so hot, the zoos in Chennai, Mangalore, Mysore and Kanpur have all installed water sprinklers in the animal enclosures to keep them cool. We don’t have them yet, but we are now planning to install them. As of now, we manually spray the animals with water to keep them cool. This is especially done for the big animals like the tigers, leopards and elephants.”
Assistant director and head of the veterinary team, Dr Manjunatha V, adds, “We spray water on the animals twice a day. We have already installed sprinklers in the king cobra and iguana enclosures. We have stopped watering the lanes and reduced watering of the plants and trees. We have also turned off the fountain. We are preserving all the water for the animals.”
“We feed ice cubes from ice trays for the smaller animals. But for the bigger animals, chains are frozen along with the ice bars and these are tied to tree branches in the enclosures,” adds Manjunatha, just in case you were wondering how they do it.
The animals are also being given nutrients and glucose in ice cubes to keep them cool. The herbivores get watermelons, bananas along with their glucose, iron, calcium and vitamin supplements in their ice cubes, while the carnivores get beef along with their nutrients in their ice cubes.