BHUBANESWAR: As the mercury level falls sharply in the city, inmates of Nandankanan zoological park here have started feeling the chills.
Keeping the night temperature (8.2°Celsius on Saturday) in mind, the zoo authorities have made special arrangements to keep the animals, birds, and reptiles warm and safe.
The zoo has used room heaters inside the enclosure of chimpanzees. They have kept blankets and wooden cots inside the enclosure of orangutans. The caretakers of these primates have also put plywood on the floors and shut the enclosure windows during the night to stop the chilly wind from blowing inside.
As the birds are sensitive to cold, the authorities have taken steps to keep them warm. They have covered the enclosures of birds and squirrels with agro-net sheds. “The net sheds will keep the cold winds at bay,” said Ashok Kumar Das, range officer, sanctuary management.
For reptiles such as pythons, paddy straws have been stashed inside their enclosure. Incandescent bulbs have been fitted in the enclosure of the King cobra to keep it warm. Room heaters have been fitted inside the chamber of the iguanas.
The caretakers of crocodiles have created sand beds and sheds made of paddy straws and jute bags near their pools to provide them shelter during the night. Room heaters have been kept inside the enclosures of pangolins. Wooden sheds are housing small monkeys, said a zoo official.
“Though the cold does not affect tigers, lions, and bears, we have kept their feeding chambers open at night so that they can take rest inside it if they feel cold,” said Das. “We are taking all possible steps to keep the inmates warm and safe,” he said.
The zoo, established on December 29, 1960, is spread over 3.62 sq km. It receives footfall between 18,000 and 20,000 a day. The botanical garden, spread over 75 hectares, gets around 2.5 lakh visitors per annum.