With the mercury soaring to 36 degrees Celsius, the authorities at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP) in Chennai or Vandalur zoo as it is popularly called, have installed water showers through sprinklers, erected shade nets and thatched sheds to keep the animals cool this summer.
High temperature causes significant stress for all wild animals and managing them during these hot days requires an intellectual forward planning, the AAZP director said on Monday.
“Arignar Anna Zoological Park follows a unique and innovative summer management plan for all mammals, birds and reptiles. They are provided with sufficient shade and water. Shade nets are provided at required places to beat the penetration of direct sunlight in the zoo,” a release from AAZP said.
Mega herbivorous animals like rhinoceros, elephant, hippopotamus, giraffe, zebra were provided with water showers through sprinklers while Manchon grass thatched sheds were provided well in advance of summer in all enclosures.
Elephants are given shower and allowed to wallow in the pond twice daily to get relief from the hot sun.
Deer enclosures have been provided with new thatched sheds and the bird enclosures are wrapped with gunny bags and sprayed with water to keep them cool throughout the day.
Arrangement has been made to sprinkle water at the enclosures housing ostriches, terrestrial birds, and in a walk-through aviary. Shade nets have been provided for white tiger and panther enclosures.
Special dietary arrangements have been made for primates, bears and elephants to help them maintain the normal temperature. Carnivores are provided with frozen meat while primates and bears were given fruits frozen in ice cubes.
Cervids (deer) in the zoo and in safari are provided with extra shade, water and special feeds.
Despite the soaring temperature, butterflies were seen in large numbers in the butterfly park, the zoo said.
As reptiles come under severe stress during summer, heat relief measures were taken up to improve their comfort. The serpentarium has been provided with mud mounds and mud pots in multiple tiers to ensure differential temperature for facilitating their different physiological functions.
Snakes require variable temperatures for digestion, molting and reproduction.