LAHORE: Preparations are being made at Lahore Zoo for animals and birds to spend the summer season with ease, Zoo Deputy Director Kiran Saleem told Dawn on Sunday.

Ms Saleem said that though the season starts in mid-May, the Zoo started has its arrangements for the upcoming scorching summer days. The arrangements include fans, coolers, dietary changes, and supplements in water for birds.

The deputy director said that to lessen the summer effects on the animals, customary measures which are taken in summers include the supply of more water, besides providing a fruity diet, supplements and minerals to the animals to keep them refreshed. The Zoo will also fix coolers and sprinklers in the enclosures and cages of animals, and install sheds for them. Arrangements will also be made to ensure the provision of drinking water to prevent the animals from dehydration.

She said that during intense summer days, large animals are amply sprayed with water several times a day while green nets over the cages are also soaked in water. Among other arrangements, pools and moats within the enclosures of animals are refilled.

There would also be a change of diet - pulp of fruits, such as melons, watermelons and cucumbers would be added to the daily feed for hippos, ostriches, monkeys, bears, chimpanzees and birds.

For big cats, vitamins and supplements would also be added to their diets to cover for water loss. Ms Saleem said tigers, puma, chimpanzees, llama, bear and deer were sensitive to summer and needed extra care from May to September. Veterinary doctors at the zoo would be constantly monitoring these animals for any symptoms of sunstroke or dehydration.

About the import of a male hippo and a female rhino for the pairing purpose, she said that it has been two months that the relevant documents were lying with the Ministry of Climate Change that issues an NOC for the import and export of animals. She said the tender for both animals had been done back in 2018, however, first because of Covid and then delay by the animal supplier hampered the animals’ import. Now, hopefully things would move fast, she added.

She said that under the animal exchange programme at the local level, two ostriches were brought to the Zoo from the Zoo Safari Park and Bahawalpur Zoo. The Zoo provided different animals to both facilities.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2022

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