KOCHI: The birds in the Thiruvananthapuram City Zoo, fenced in congested enclosures, might finally get a chance to put their skills of flight to test, as an aviary design presented to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) could be approved.
The design, prepared by Steel Industries of Kerala Limited (SILK), will make use of the small pond in the zoo. A large cover, which is 15 metres high and around 50 metres in diameter, will be built over the pond habitat and its trees. An artificial waterfall will be installed to aerate the water. This is necessary for fish to breed. The pond is connected to the large pond in the zoo, via a canal, and serves as a groundwater recharge reservoir.
If the new design gets a nod, the birds will be freed from a peril that is several years’ old. The zoo authorities have been trying to get a new aviary designed from 2003 onwards. Recently, the authorities also approached engineering colleges for a design.
Even though a water bird aviary was inaugurated in 2009, it could not solve the issue. The severity of the problem increased when birds were brought from other zoos. The birds are quibbling for space and eggs lain are being destroyed.
The water birds will be moved to this exhibit area. The present water bird aviary will then be free to accommodate birds of prey. That should be happy news for the giant vultures, which have had minimal movement ever since their arrival at the City Zoo, for want of space.
The zoo authorities also hope to shift the Brahminy and Pariah kites to this space; however, this depends on whether all species will be compatible to each other. The kites currently inhabit the most congested enclosure.
The zoo, which has no mandate to conserve these, is reluctant to let them free as many of these birds are handicapped. Every time a kite is rescued, it is brought to the zoo veterinary surgeon for treatment. Now, the number of Brahminy kites is so high, that some of these are kept inside the zoo veterinary hospital.
Making a design which would fit the wing size as well as roosting and flight habits of the birds, is very difficult, especially inside the zoo where the space available is limited. Earlier, there were talks about a walk-in aviary being considered for the zoo. However, unlike say the Singapore zoo, where a walk-in aviary is manageable, as the birds undergo pinioning, CZA laws does not allow mutilating the body of the birds.
The zoo authorities had approached various government agencies for designing the aviary, including SIDCO and PWD. But it was just SILK which came up with a design.