Less meat or oily food, more water and electrolyte solutions. With the mercury standing at 43.1�C, animals at Tata Steel Zoological Park, Jamshedpur, are on a summer diet that will put many human health freaks to shame.
The zoo has more than 400 inmates, with species count being 44 for birds, 18 for mammals and two for reptiles.
"We have reduced oil intake of carnivores in the form of sunflower seeds and oil cakes. Meat intake for tigers has been lessened from 14kg to 8kg a day to aid digestion and keep them comfortable," said zoo vet M. Palit.
He quickly added: "Don't forget that we serve herbivores seasonal fruits."
The fruit basket is impressive, with the likes of papaya, cucumber, carrots and watermelon.
From bears to deer to monkeys, everyone relishes fruits, said the vet.
"Simians get 2.5kg of seasonal fruits and 500gm of bread. Bears, on the other hand, get 3kg of seasonal fruits and 2kg of boiled rice and breads. Deer get seasonal fruits with their staple fodder-based diet comprising gram, maize and jowar. Birds like to nibble on fruits as well as grains," Palit specified details.
Drinking water of zoo inmates is also mixed with anti-stress herbal medicines, electrolytes and B-complex.
"These help hydrate animals and keep them fresh and free from irritation even in severe heat. Multiple electrolyte powders shields them from sunstroke," the vet said.
Apart from diet, zoo authorities are doing everything they can to keep temperatures and tempers cool, with air coolers inside the enclosures of tigers, leopards, bears and mandrills.
Around 20 coolers and 12 exhausts fans have been put up so far. If temperatures rise further, air-conditioners will make a grand appearance.
Enclosures have also been covered with bamboo and straw to prevent direct sunrays from falling on animals. Gunny bag curtains at enclosures are watered regularly. Water sprinklers keep carpets of grass wet so that deer, leopards and tigers can loll on them comfortably. Pools have also been constructed at several enclosures.
Jusco provides water 24/7, which is of great help, say zoo authorities.
The 73-acre animal park also has a natural advantage in the form of a 13-acre lake. Greenery spread on around 40 acres also has a cooling effect.
Are private zoos more caring towards animals?