At Katraj Zoo, steps to keep animals warm

Katraj Zoo

As temperature takes the plunge, animals at Katraj Zoo are getting some special attention. Changes are being brought in to keep them warm.

"The animals in the zoo are attuned to a life in the wild, and we have made efforts to recreate their natural habitat here," said Ashwini Shitole, an official at the zoo. "Some enclosures have caves built into them, which helps keep the animals warm. These caves are equipped with mercury lamps and wooden benches to make the nights more tolerable."

The animals on their part also also start adopting measures to stay warm. Not many of them roam around much and there is a tendency to herd together at bright spots in the day to soak in as much sunshine as possible.

"The major step we take during winters is the change in dietary patterns. We ramp up the liver supplements provisions to the animals. The morning feeding time is shifted an hour ahead to 11 am or noon, whenever the sunlight is brighter. The young ones need more care, and this season also witnesses a hike in the birth rate. We make sure there are numerous dry grass spots available for the animals to to lie on. We identify the windy regions and put in wind nets appropriately," said Dr NK Nighot, veteranarian at the zoo. The reptile section too is provided with blanket covers.

But out in the streets, stray dogs and kittens are often unprotected from the cold. Animal lovers are striving to do as much damage control as is possible.

"We have been helping animal rights NGOs for the past three days now, providing them plastic sheets to cover the cages and seeking foster homes for the pups. Sick pups can't be given up for adoption, so we have been pitching in with their initial treatment and sterilisation. Raising awareness is critical," said Rani Wilfred, a realtor and an animal rescue volunteer.

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