The Telegraph
Wednesday , July 2 , 2014
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Rain-ready zoo starts night patrol

- Constant vigil at Tata animal kingdom to respond to emergencies

Tata zoo is on rain alert.

After putting in place a monsoon action plan so that the four-legged and feathery friends remain well protected during the showers, Tata Steel Zoological Park has intensified night patrolling in the 37-hectare animal kingdom.

The contingency measure has been taken in view of the three-month rainy season. Zoo keepers have been deployed on a rotational basis from 9pm to 6am daily to keep an eye on the animals and birds to prevent a rerun of the June 18, 2008, tragedy when three Gangetic gharials and a crocodile were washed away in a flood.

The patrol staff have been issued instructions to immediately inform the director, his deputy and vet Manik Palit in case of any emergency, say floods or storms.

“We are also paying occasional visits to the zoo at night. It’s a precautionary measure and we have to be alert to meet any kind of emergency situation,” said director Bipul Chakravarty.

According to him, at least one zoo-keeper remains on the patrol job at night.

“Our vehicle is used for night patrolling. The staff also scan the area on foot. We are also keeping a watch on the level of Subernarekha river that flows adjacent to our compound,” Chakravarty added.

The zoo director further said that the female leopard, Sheeba, would be shifted from her enclosure to the nearby hospital if the water level in the river rises.

“Sheeba has difficulty in climbing to the upper tier of the enclosure. So, she needs to be shifted. Other leopards will remain in the enclosure,” he added.

Earlier, the zoo management had intensified night patrolling when thieves from Mango and Sonari used to sneak into the compound to steal fish from Jayanti Sarovar. Once the thefts stopped, night patrolling followed suit.

Night watch apart, bamboo and hay shades atop the crawl areas of tiger, lion, leopard and bird enclosures will also be removed shortly. “We will remove the shades in two-three days as animals need proper sunlight during monsoon. Sun ray also sterilises the enclosures. Animals will shift to their respective cells if it rains,” Palit said.

As part of monsoon action plan, the zoo has constituted a 16-member disaster management team divided into two groups. Also, a fleet of motor and paddle boats has been kept ready. Medical and saline have been stocked up too.