THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Three-year-old Kohima munches on a fruit punch, a delicacy made of watermelon, pineapple and cucumber. She gets to relish on this icy treat every summer. Coupled with daily doses of fruit punch, the Himalayan black bear at the city zoo is given a bath twice per day.
The change in diet and bathing schedule began in February. This has been a routine at the zoo where a host of measures are implemented to help the animals beat the heat.
At present the zoo has more than 1,000 animals. The zoo authorities have set up facilities to help all the animals beat the summer stress. The frequency of baths has been increased for the animals. The big cats, which were given a bath once a day, are now being bathed three times. “Our zoo is different from others in that it has a vast expanse of greenery. So it offers a good canopy for the animals and even during summer, this is the most pleasant place to be in the city. But summer is a difficult time and we have to put in place the protocol we follow every year,” said zoo vet Jacob Alexander.
Sprinklers and fan have been set up in the cages of most animals. Pools and water moats too have been set up. Even the exercise routine of tigers have gone through a major overhaul. “We noticed an increase in their body temperature when they exercise in the morning. Hence, the animals are being exercised at night,” says the vet.
Moreover, the zoo authorities have decided to provide shades in areas without good canopy. A shed will be set up inside the deer enclosures, said zoo superintendent T V Anilkumar. A night watchman has also been designated to replenish the water in the enclosures of the animals, said the vet. The arrangements will continue till the rainy season begins.