Hyderabad: Elephants in the Nehru Zoological Park will soon get some new toys to play with. The zoo, according to its director N. Kshitija, is in the process of getting some very large wooden balls for its five elephants. “This is part of our enrichment programme for our animals,” she told Deccan Chronicle on Tuesday.
A prototype of the new toy has been tried and tested on three tiger cubs over the past few months. And apparently, they have approved it for use by other inmates of the zoo.
Items such as wooden balls that the cubs played within their crawl with their mother keeping a watchful eye over them are useful to keep them occupied. In the open enclosures, some have culverts for the animals to walk under and explore. For the monkeys, it is the swings that serve this purpose, Kshitija said.
Asked how the animals have been coping with the absence of visitors who would throng the zoo in their thousands every day, she said the animals appeared to have gotten used to being by themselves now.
Initially, when the lockdown was imposed after the outbreak of COVID-19, some of the animals would rush towards them when zoo officials and staff went around on their daily rounds. “Now, they have gotten used to the peace and quiet. We have to see how they react once the zoo is allowed to open,” she said.
Kshitija said that the zoo has been using the downtime without visitors not just to improve conditions in the cages and enclosures but also by getting in touch with other zoos and finding out about diet regimens for various animals. “We have been comparing our animal diets with those being provided in other zoos and are in the process of making improvements where needed by studying how the other zoos have been taking care of their animals,” she said....