Thiruvananthapuram: Severe heat is making animal life in zoos miserable. Animals and birds in captivity remain in shade most of the time as they struggle to cope with the conditions. Zoo authorities here have taken several measures to cool them down. Frozen food, vitamin and mineral supplements, fans and fruits are being provided to them.
Ostrich, tiger, nilgai, bear and reptiles have fans installed in cages. The sheds of anaconda and King Cobra have air conditioning.
Cages are cooled down with water at night and animals bathed twice a day. Water for birds is mixed with vitamins and minerals. More fruits are added to their diets. Frozen fruits are given to animals like bears.
Cooling measures had started early this year, though water supply was erratic at times last year. However, zoo workers say these arrangements are inadequate. There is shortage of water used to cool cages. Some fans installed last year are not working now, they claimed.
Last September it was reported the animals here were hit hard by water scarcity. The pipes at the facility had gone dry after the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) had stopped supply to the zoo. When such issues recur the animals go without drinking and bathing water. Animals that need water to regulate their body temperature suffer when water is scarce.
Animals like elephant, tiger, lion and hippopotamus can't bear too much heat. Large quantities of water are needed to bathe them daily. Their enclosures too need to have adequate water in order to keep the heat at bay. The water that is brought in by tankers when KWA supply fails is not adequate to even meet basic requirements at the zoo.
The Thiruvananthapuram Zoo was opened in 1857. It is in the heart of the city.
The water supply to the zoo comes through the pipe leading from the reservoir near the observatory at Vellayambalam. Massive tanks on the zoo premises need to be filled up if KWA supply ceases.