A hippopotamus basks in the sun at Jawaharlal Nehru Biological Park in Bokaro on Friday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
Once pained, twice prompt.
Taking lessons from the untimely death of four of its prized inmates — the three White Tiger cubs Amar, Akbar and Anthony and adult male Satpuda — last winter, the Jawaharlal Nehru Biological Park in Bokaro is on an overdrive to keep enclosures warm and cosy.
As the mercury plummeted to 10°C on Friday, the 364-odd denizens of the zoo enjoyed special care. Keepers paid frequent visits to enclosures to check on animals. Zoo in-charge Gautam Chakravarty personally monitored cleanliness and comfort.
Separate winter arrangements are in place for carnivores and herbivores.
Heaters are warming up cages of all big cats, while wooden planks have been offered to tigers and leopards. “The carnivores seek something warm to sit on at night. Hence, the planks. During the day, they go out and bask in the sun,” said an animal keeper.
He added that the zoo’s lone White Tiger Ganga was enjoying most attention.
Dry grass and leaves, hay and cardboards have been brought for herbivores like deer.
For birds, hay have been stacked around cages to keep them warm. Trees surrounding the avian enclosure have been pruned to allow sunlight.
The zoo authorities have also made dietary changes.
While every carnivore is being served an extra pound of flesh, herbivores are being given jaggery for energy. Liver tonics have been reserved for birds. Multi-vitamins, mostly A, B and C, have become a must for all inmates.
“Since cold winds start blowing from late afternoon, we ensure that food is served to all animals before noon. They need adequate time for digestion,” Chakravarty said.
He pointed out that reptiles had hit winter mode. The pythons, which are more than 18ft long and weigh around 40kg, have gone into hibernation. Crocodiles and Gangetic Gharials are loving the sun.
“We are ready for a harsh winter. Besides enclosure and dietary arrangements, medical services too are in place,” the zoo in-charge added.