Heaters, jaggery for Delhi Zoo animals as winter approaches

With winter knocking at Delhi’s doors, zoo authorities here have installed heaters, bulbs and paddy straw seats in animal enclosures besides making available chunks of jaggery, healthy porridge and Indian gooseberry to the inmates.

“As the winters are approaching, we are taking a series of measures to keep the animals and birds warm and healthy. Heaters have been installed in many enclosures. We have also laid down seats made of paddy straw in the cages to keep them warm,” Riyaz Khan, zoo curator said.

Apart from the installations, a change in the dietary plan of the inmates has also been made.

“We have a dietary plan for every season. For winters, we usually increase the food supply. All the herbivores will be fed extra 50 g of amla each. Elephants will be given sugarcane.

“The meat-eaters will be fed 1-2 kg more food. Various seasonal fruits will also be given to the inmates. Rhinoceros are given porridge, jaggery and pulses,” he said.

The zoo official maintained that all animals have specific needs and the seasonal preparations also vary accordingly.

“For instance, no major modification is done for chimpanzees. They are provided with blankets in winters. Cartons are attached to the bird cages to protect them from the harsh and cold winds,” Khan said.

“Snakes in particular hide themselves in burrows and do not generally come out during winters. They need special attention. We constantly monitor the cage temperature, that usually should not come below 22 degree Celsius,” he said.

The official noted that as a new measure this time, the zoo has decided to put large salt balls across its premises as salt helps in digestion.

“These balls are most useful for deer. We recently lost a four-horned antelope, who died after giving birth to two babies, due to indigestion,” he said.

Winters is also the time wherein the National Zoological Park witnesses a range of migratory birds, as far from Himalayas, Siberia and Eurasia.

“Pin-tailed birds, savior, common teal, coots are some of the birds that migrate to the zoo during winters,” Khan added.