Vizag: No play makes animals dull in zoo

In Vizag zoo, most animals are listless or show compulsive behaviour.

Visakhapatnam: With no activities to keep them entertained and happy, some zoo animals have become extremely lethargic and dull. Visitors rarely get a chance to catch them moving around or in a playful mood.

Delegates from the Israel Zoo visited the city to gift chimps to the Vizag zoo, and they felt that the animals appeared to be idle and disinterested for the most part, due to a lack of activities that would keep them engaged.

They went on to demonstrate the various activities that could be carried out, in order to ensure that animals are holistically enriched, and not just nutritionally.

They suggested that rather than simply keeping the food in a bowl within the enclosure, zookeepers could hide the food or hang it from a tree, so that animals engage their sensory and cognitive senses, and partake in some physical activity, in order to reach that food.

Among the carnivores, Azam, the lone male Asiatic lion, a sloth bear, and a jaguar, all seem to have become sluggish and physically unfit. What’s more is that while it is necessary for zookeepers to regularly check the weight of animals as a parameter of good health, the zoo is yet to get weighing machines.

There are standard charts against which the exact weight of each animal needs to be checked, as per guidelines; but zookeepers have to make an evaluation based on visual judgement alone.

Zoo curator B. Vijaya Kumar admitted that enrichment activities are crucial to keep the captive animals engaged and fit. “We will begin conducting activities for animals soon and keep them playful. Zookee-pers have to be trained for this,” he said. He clarified that lack of activity alone was not the reason for the lethargy of some animals, and said that Azam had been sick for three years from a blood-borne protozoan disease, which makes him dull.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story