Increased guard: The new wall at Tata zoo on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
It is spray for the snakes and brick for the dogs.
More than a month after a pack of dogs barged into the Allen Forest Zoo in the industrial town of Kanpur and mauled 31 deer, Tata Steel Zoological Park has “bricked” its own security lapses to restrict the entry of hungry canine packs.
Though belated, the zoo authorities said, the move will do well for now to protect its fleet of 40-45 black bucks, sambars and cheetals that otherwise were easy prey to the untamed canines.
The Telegraph had on January 25 this year published a report (Hungry strays hound zoo) highlighting how the 92-acre zoo had become a hunting ground for stray dogs.
Officials said they had come up with a new wall beside the main entry gate of the zoo, which had been identified as one of the points for canine intrusion.
“The dogs abounding Jubilee Park had free access to the zoo from an area beside the main gate. But now we have found a solution,” a zoo functionary said.
Rajnish Kumar, the management panel member of the Tata Steel Zoological Society, too said the wall would guard the black bucks, sambars and cheetals. He, however, admitted that the initiative was not a fullproof solution and more needed to be done.
“The wall on the lake side ends right near the edge of Jayanti Sarobar. We could not have stretched it any further,” a zoo official said on condition of anonymity.
He added that the security guards, posted round-the-clock at the main gate, had also been asked to stay more alert and keep an eye out for rogue canines trying to slip into the premises swimming in through the lake.
Chasing dogs — who often become more aggressive after the dark — away has become a routine affair for guards at the zoo thanks largely to its porous boundaries. While vast swathes of the zoo oversees the Jayanti Sarovar and has no extra cover, the rest of it has a four-feet-high guard wall with wire mesh at only strategic places. Chain links (a crude avatar of barbed wires) had also been installed near a stretch of the guard wall along the Marine Drive.
Seven years ago, a pack of dogs had scaled this very wall and attacked the hog deer enclosure at Tata zoo, which boasts of 400-odd animals, many of them endangered.
However, if sources are to be believed, plans to repair and raise the height of the boundary wall was also in the pipeline. “We are working on it and work will begin soon,” an official said.
The authorities are also serious about implementing safety measures for the protection of animals.
Disinfectant spray — a mixture of 60 per cent water disinfectant Bio-Clean, kerosene and neem oil as reptile repellents — is being sprayed regularly inside and outside the tiger, leopard and sloth bear enclosures to keep venomous snakes, one of which (a 7-ft white cobra) seriously injured Salya and Ed and nearly killed Zoya on December 2, at bay.
Apart from this the security guards have also been asked to keep 24-hour vigils near the lion and tiger enclosures.
A middle-aged man had entered the tiger enclosure in May last year and had nearly been mauled by Raghav, the Royal Bengal Tiger of the zoo.