THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Distressed by the sound of crackers, the male white tiger at Thiruvananthapuram zoo, Shravan, has hurt himself. The young tiger now bears a bruise on his face, caused while pacing to and fro in the enclosure.
Shravan is not the only animal affected by the noise. Malar, the female white tiger, has not been having food since Monday. Manikantan, another Bengal tiger, has spent the wee hours of Tuesday awake. The next morning he was found drowsy, in shock, confining himself to a corner of the cage, according to zoo officials.
The zoo’s oldest tiger, Karishma, passed away on Tuesday. While postmortem report reveals that the tiger had tumour in its ovaries and various old age ailments, the sound of crackers has been proposed as a trigger for its death.
The endless burst of fireworks has sent nearly every animal in a tizzy. Zoo officials say that all birds have been shrieking badly. Rhea is the worst affected. The birds of this species, being highly sensitive to sound, have been running amok inside their enclosures. Earlier, there have been instances of the bird hurting itself, while in panic.
Noise pollution used to be an everyday affair at the zoo, as Nishagandhi auditorium, which has programmes all too often, used to play music loudly. Following the complaint of a concerned citizen, Kerala State Human Rights Commission had issued an order to curb noises. Ever since, the zoo has not had much problem from its neighbour.
The crackers, however, are being burnt by residents in the Museum area. “Fireworks are being set off from all four sides. However, the crackers from Nandavanam side, which is closest to the zoo, cause most harm. Sometimes, ‘rockets’ land on the zoo compound. There is little that we can do about the sound. It might take a day or even more after Diwali for the animals to recover,” said Dr Jacob Alexander, zoo veterinarian.