A tigress lazes in its enclosure at Bokaro zoo on Friday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
The plunging mercury may give sleepless nights to many, but the inmates of Jawaharlal Nehru Biological Park in Bokaro are having a comfortable winter, thanks to special arrangements made by the zoo authorities.
On a day the temperature dipped to 8.6°C in Bokaro, zoo director Gautam Chakraborty told The Telegraph that measures had been taken to keep the 300 inmates 100 carnivores and herbivores and 200 birds warm and snug on the basis of their needs.
Heaters, dry husk and blankets have already been placed inside the cages of carnivores. Besides, the authorities have placed wooden planks in the tiger, lion and leopard enclosures to help the big cats beat the chill.
We have also put up curtains for the tigress and the lioness, Chakraborty said.
For herbivores, trees have been pruned so that adequate sunlight keep them warm. Similarly, ample straw sheets have been spread in different enclosures.
But that is not all.
A special menu has been charted out for the inmates too. The winter diet, Chakraborty added, was a strictly fatty and starchy affair.
While herbivores like cheetal and nilgai are being given protein and fat-rich diets in the form of soyabean and dried shoots of mahua, the birds are warding off the cold with the help of liver tonics.
We are also providing calcium and vitamin supplements to the herbivores, said the zoo director, adding that the carnivores were being given more meat to keep them warm and energetic.
More than 5,000 people, mostly school students, visit the zoo during December and January.
So, this year, the zoo authorities have introduced a system of registration for school students at the ticket counters to keep a tab on the crowd count.
In December alone, as many as 2,200 students visited the zoo till now, said Chakraborty, adding that they intend ed to make the area a plastic-free zone.