As the mercury dips in Punjab, the management of Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park, Chhatbir, has installed thermos heaters to protect zoo animals and birds from the severe cold wave. Winter care management of approximately 128 species and 1700 animals in the zoo is carried out by the animal management and scientific team of the range. These teams make physical, structural, dietary and habitat changes to keep the animals and birds warm.
“To avoid winter stress, temperature metres have been installed in the night shelters of all animals and birds. These monitor both temperature and humidity. To keep the reptiles warm, special basking lamps and oil fin heaters have been installed in each cell,” said Forest Range Officer Gagan Kataria.
This 505-acre zoological park has three tigers, Aman, Arjun, and Amar, as well as two tigresses, Gauri, and Diya, for whom thermal metres have been installed to monitor their temperature and humidity. The night shelters of the three lions Gagan, Sawan, and Akshit, as well as the four lionesses Dhriti, Hailie, Heer, and Shilpa, have room heaters and humidity converters in a wooden floor structure.
The staff takes note of all temperature and humidity readings in order to maintain a conducive environment for the animals. Aside from these, all carnivorous animals are provided blankets to protect them from direct contact with the cold surface and floor area. To prevent the biting cold from entering the shelters, all windows and openings have been covered with polythene, fibre sheets and sacrum grass thatch.
Animals are protected from winter rain and seasonal dew drops by temporary shelter and huts. To provide warmth, artificial bird houses and nests are installed for small and exotic birds. Dietary changes are implemented following consultation with the scientific team.
Mandeep Singh, animal management in charge, stated that birds are fed paddy, wheat straw, and rice bran. Every day during the extreme cold, honey is given to each bear and monkey while elephants are treated to sugarcane. The deer are given rock salt and jaggery. Small birds are given sesame and flax seeds, as well as nutritional supplements.
One of the largest animal sanctuaries in Northern India, M.C. Zoological Park was founded with the primary goal of conserving the royal Bengal Tiger, educating the general public about wildlife, and conducting research on wildlife behaviour and disease management.