Zoo debut for rhino

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 28.03.15

Jaldaprasad roams around in his enclosure on Friday. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

Jaldaprasad, a rhinoceros calf rescued from a forest in north Bengal and brought to Alipore zoo in November last year, made its first public appearance on Friday.

The calf, around five months old, will be let out in its enclosure for visitors to see during the first half of the day.

"Young animals are fresh in the morning. Also, the weather is not too harsh at that time," said Kanai Lal Ghosh, the director of the zoo.

After being brought to Alipore zoo, Jaldaprasad was initially kept in quarantine.

When he was brought out on Friday, the young rhino kept following his keeper around all morning.

The keeper gave him a bath, followed by a meal of fruits, vegetables and leaves, which the rhino gulped down in minutes.

Jaldaprasad now weighs 45kg. Ratul, the adult male rhino at the zoo who occupies an adjoining shelter, weighs around 1,000kg.

"We introduced Jaldaprasad to a solid diet only a few days ago and he is already polishing off around 5kg vegetables every day. He has also shown a fondness for carrots and sweet potatoes. Apart from that, we are also giving him milk," said director Ghosh.

Since Jaldaprasad was not born in captivity, his exact age is not known, but he is likely to have been around 45 days old when he was brought to the zoo on November 6 last year.

"He was found abandoned in a forest in north Bengal, from where it was rescued and sent to the zoo," said Ghosh.

The Alipore zoo, which is sometimes accused of being home to only old and ailing animals, has seen a flurry of young arrivals in recent times.

Besides the young rhino, the zoo now has three young chimpanzees, two young elephants, two aldabra tortoises and several zebras, giraffes and macaws.

"We have a healthy mix of animals of both sexes, so we do not have to worry about breeding," the director said.