100-metre walk for tranquillizer at Byculla zoo

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 01 Oktober 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Zoos across the country have begun a review of the security apparatus after last week's incident at the Delhi zoo, in which a 20-year-old man fell into the tiger enclosure and was mauled to death. Yet, at the city's Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan zoo in Byculla, nothing seems to have changed.

"There has been no change in the security after the incident," zoo director Anil Anjankar said. "But there are always guards positioned around the enclosures of the hippos, the lion, the Himalayan black bear, the elephants and the crocodiles while others do the rounds of the zoo to control and sensitize the visitors."

If an accident occurs, the guards notify the vet and the keeper concerned. Keepers are meant to be near the animal during visiting hours.

"The keeper will open the door and call the animal, which should work if others don't disturb it," Anjankar said. "We try not to approach the animal unnecessarily."

A rope can also be lowered by the keeper if needed; the guards only have sticks.

Tranquillizing an animal is the "last resort", said Anjankar. He said tranquillizers were not at hand but kept at the zoo hospital, within "100-metre- to 200-metre-radius from any enclosure".

It may take five to 10 minutes of walking to reach the zoo hospital, said assistant security officer Kiran Dadas.

The zoo should get a lot safer after the proposed renovation. It will add a striped hyena, jackals, wolves, Bengal tigers, jaguars and leopards to its roster, keeping these in ground-level enclosures with chain-link fences that are 20 feet high.

The layout also includes a covered viewing area for each enclosure, through which visitors can get an unobstructed view of the animal behind 15-feet acrylic glass panels. Climbing animals like leopards will be enclosed from the top as well.

The current crop of animals will be moved to similar quarters with far more area to move around, in accordance with CZA guidelines.

The improved facilities should minimize chances of a mishap with visitors, but it remains to be seen whether the life of animals improves.

"At the outset we need to review the very concept of zoos in India," Bittu Sahgal, environmental activist and editor of Sanctuary Asia, said. "These institutions no longer serve either conservation or education. The Ranichi Bagh facility in Byculla in particular has a reputation for gross mismanagement and cruelty towards animals. In my experience, irrespective of physical barriers and facilities installed, a system that is intrinsically flawed will continue to leave both animals and visitors at risk."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/followceleb.cms?alias=zoos,Tiger enclosure,security apparatus,Delhi Zoo

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