The Telegraph
Saturday , January 12 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Winter blues attack our furry friends

- Zoo authorities give animals vitamins and anti-depressants to fight cold

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 11: Feeling under the weather? Spare a thought for your furry friends at Nandankanan Zoo, who appear to be even worse off in this bone-chilling winter.

Zoo authorities, therefore, have made special dietary arrangements to ensure that the chill doesn’t get to the diverse species.

Besides increasing the amount of meat for carnivorous animals such as tigers, lions and leopards, they are feeding Vitamin C-enriched fruits to the herbivores. On regular days, the adult members of the big cat family are served around nine kilograms of buffalo meat every day, but during the winter, their intake is increased by an extra kilogram.

“The animals need special attention when the city experiences extremes of cold or heat. Additional meat is supposed to increase the metabolism of the animals, which will keep them warmer. Animals are also provided with anti-depressants in winter,” said a senior zoo officer.

The daily diet for jumbos, hippos and monkeys has also been changed. They are being served papaya instead of banana.

Zoo officials are also giving multivitamins to the animals along with sufficient water to ensure that the animals do not suffer from pneumonia and other cold-related diseases.

Sources said the authorities had kept heaters for the big cats in their night shelters and all the windows and openings of the shelters were covered with polythene sheets at night.

Shelters with mats and thatched roofs have been made at the enclosures for deer and other animals. Officials have also made special arrangements for reptiles, including snakes, pythons, lizards and crocodiles. The zoo administration has installed heaters and blowers in the glass chambers of the reptile house to maintain temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius.

In another development, three tiger cubs born at the zoo last year will be put on display on January 13. The three tiger cubs — Subhashree, Ankita and Asha — will celebrate their first birthday on the same day. This will be the first time in 10 years that the tiger cubs born in the zoo will be put on display.