Zoos innovate to safeguard animal well-being

From mist fans to shade cloths, authorities ensure beasts stay cool this summer

Imran Asghar May 21, 2024


Given the looming threat of heat waves, a comprehensive strategy has been devised to shield captive wild animals and birds from the adverse impacts of soaring temperatures.

The proactive initiative aims to safeguard their health and well-being, mitigating the risks of heat stroke and dehydration.

According to the details, the Rawalpindi Zoo has taken decisive steps to ensure the comfort and safety of its animal residents amidst the heat wave. Water ponds have been strategically placed within the enclosures of tigers, bears, monkeys, zebras, deer, wolves, and various bird species.

Additionally, air conditioning units, air coolers, and mist fans have been deployed in the tiger enclosures to further alleviate the effects of the heat wave. Night shelters for the animals will be outfitted with air coolers and additional fans containing ice blocks. The cages housing precious birds have been draped with green cloth for added shade and comfort.

Officials at the Ayub National Park have disclosed that Jungle World Zoo is home to 130 rare animal species and over 200 bird species. The sudden spike in temperatures in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad poses considerable risks to both humans and animals alike.

While animals in their natural habitats employ natural cooling mechanisms to cope with heat, those in captivity require artificial interventions to ensure their well-being and survival. Caged animals and birds are particularly vulnerable to dehydration and heat stroke during heat waves.

With temperatures on the rise, zoo experts are vigilantly monitoring the situation daily. They are closely observing the escalating temperatures and their impact on the animals, promptly intervening when necessary, including administering hydration treatments to animals at risk of dehydration.

The Jungle World Zoo presently boasts 46 cages and 31 night shelters, housing a diverse array of animals including white tigers, Bengal tigers, lions, pumas, wolves, bears, monkeys, Nile cows, deer, ponies, and more.

The bird population encompasses 200 different species including ostriches, parrots, pheasants, cranes, pelicans, peacocks, pigeons, turkeys, and crown cranes, among others.

The relentless heat and ensuing heat waves pose grave threats to the well-being of animals and birds. To counteract these challenges, we have swiftly taken measures such as covering cages with green cloths for shade, ensuring ample water supply within the enclosures, and establishing temporary ponds.

Additionally, a dedicated veterinary team comprising expert veterinarians has been tasked with monitoring and addressing any health concerns arising from the prevailing conditions.

Officials have also indicated that if temperatures soar to 50 degrees Celsius this summer, air conditioning units will be installed in the night shelters housing rare animal breeds.

As the intensity of the heat escalates, animals may exhibit changes in behaviour and dietary preferences. In response, the veterinary staff will adjust their diets, incorporating minerals to mitigate the effects of the heat wave.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2024.


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