A fleet of paddle boats ready for the monsoon action plan at Tata zoo on Thursday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Monsoon, which started its rendezvous with Jharkhand on Wednesday, has put Tata Steel Zoological Park on safety alert.
Lessons learnt from 2008 flash floods, zoo authorities have drawn up a contingency plan for three rainy months ahead, including forming a 16-member disaster management team divided into two groups of equal numbers.
Speaking to The Telegraph on Thursday, zoo director Bipul Chakravarty said critical decisions had already been taken.
Female leopard Sheeba and fish will be relocated to safer zones. Electrical fittings will also be soon removed from the aquarium and leopard enclosure. Also, the zoo’s enviable fleet of 11 motor and paddle boats has been refurbished and medicines and saline stocked up.
Chakravarty added that his deputy, zoo vet Manik Palit, was responsible for co-ordinating with the two wings of the disaster management team.
“While one is being led by field supervisor Susen Mahto, field assistant Ali Akhtar Khan is in charge of the other. These are pre-emptive measures as water from the Subernarekha often gushes into our zoo premises during monsoon,” he said.
Chakravarty added that the leopard enclosure and aquarium were especially vulnerable locations.
“So, we have decided to shift Sheeba, the female leopard, who can’t climb up the upper tier of the enclosure as easily as her feline friends Ved, Mithun, Basanti and Albatross, to the zoo hospital on Monday. The fish will be sent to the information centre. To prevent short-circuit, supply will be disconnected and appliances such as flycatchers and coolers kept at the storeroom,” he said.
Also, drains along sloth bear and hog deer enclosures will be cleaned to prevent water-logging.
These pre-emptive steps apart, the zoo authorities are readying rescue materials like inflatable tubes, life jackets, capture nets, torches and umbrellas. Fuel tanks of zoo vehicles have been refilled and fleet of boats oiled and kept ready.
The boundary wall of the private animal planet will also be monitored twice a day. Also, benches and dustbins will be shifted to higher areas.
And, no ice cream for visitors in shower season. The contractor of the ice-cream parlour near the leopard enclosure has been asked to shut shop during monsoon. However, the food court will stay open.
The array of preparations is a fallout of the zoo’s experience six years ago, when three Gangetic gharials and a crocodile were washed away in floods on June 18, 2008.