THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The sanitisation process of the open enclosure housing the lions in Thiruvananthapuram Zoo will start on Monday. This procedure is expected to check the ectoparasites which have increased in number in the open enclosure over the last six months. “We have two lions and four lionesses, along with their two cubs. Due to the state of affairs in the enclosure, we shifted them to isolated cell rooms. At that point of time, there were big threats from the parasites. Besides, the outbreak of canine distemper virus also expedited the shifting. The ectoparasitic infestation by the parasites that reside on the surface of the host had resulted in rapid fall of hairs from the mane of the lions. That’s when we stepped in and shifted them. Now, we are resorting to the final step, incineration of the enclosure,” said Dr Jacob Alexander, the Zoo veterinarian.
The incineration process on Monday carries much significance as the officials had found the preliminary steps like spraying anti-parasitic agents futile in dealing with the crisis. The officials also acknowledge that more toxic chemicals could not be used as pesticides as they would affect the animals in captivity. ‘’But the relatively long isolation in separate rooms for more than four months have bettered the condition of the lions. Their manes have appeared again. Now the boys are looking really pretty,” the Zoo vet said.
But the Zoo officials are not taking any chances as they said that the relocation of the animals would be done only after purging the enclosure of parasites.
‘‘With the limited staff, it is not that easy to cleanse the one-acre enclosure at a time. But we have no other option. Once the mission is complete, we can bring the lions in. Then, ultraviolet rays in the sunlight will come into play in sterilising the place,” the Zoo official said.