As the residents of Kolkata look forward to getting relief from the heat in the form of the approaching monsoon, the management of the Zoological Garden in Alipore are taking steps to help the animals combat the heat.

Mr Asis Kumar Samanta, director of the Zoological Garden said that just like humans, animals too suffer from the extreme heat and delayed monsoon. Hence, measures have been taken for their comfort. He said that shades have been provided for birds and every morning, water is sprayed to cool down the surroundings. The lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard and chimpanzee residents are being given a bath every morning. Fans have been provided in their enclosures and for Kangaroos, coolers have been provided as well. The elephants’ enclosure contains a shower for them to stand underneath and relax.

The management has also introduced more juicy fruits in the meals of the animals, including cucumbers, carrots, pears and watermelons. Along with drinking water, all animals are being provided with ORS, to keep them suitably hydrated. As per requirement, they are being given anti-stress and vitamin medicines. Carnivores are being served 1.5-2 kgs less meat than their usual diet to avoid indigestion. The bears at the zoo are provided curd and rice, a dish that helps keep the body cool, while the chimpanzees are served lassi.

Mr. Samanta said that almost all animals have water bodies in their enclosures, and prefer to submerge themselves when they feel irritated. The heat has stopped their frequent movements. Yet the efforts taken have ensured that no animal had fallen sick during the summer.

Recently, the 143 year old zoo welcomed four anacondas from the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology in Tamil Nadu, on 13 June, and sent them four cobras and four kraits. The zoo also received six black bucks, two sambar deers and a white tiger from Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park in Patna and sent a female zebra in return. The new entrants are placed under one month of mandatory observation by the zoo, and are under 24 hours CCTV surveillance.

In July, two leopards will be joining the zoo from the North Bengal Wild Animals Park in Siliguri, popularly known as Bengal Safari.