Authorities at Mumbai’s Byculla Zoo said that zoo animals are thoroughly enjoying the calm due to the coronavirus lockdown. Not being under the constant gaze of hundreds of visitors is a new experience for the animals as well as the zoologists who keep the animals active and engaged.
Tigers Shakti (4)and Karishma (6) arrived at Byculla zoo from Aurangabad in January. They had to be quarantined for some time upon their arrival. The unexpectedly and uncharacteristically quiet city turned into a blessing in disguise for the animals at the Byculla Zoo as they found themselves freely enjoying life as they would in their natural habitat.
Jackals playfully running around, sloth bears fetching coconuts, penguins enjoying the calm is an expected reality for these animals in Mumbai’s Byculla Zoo. Since the implementation of lockdown in March, the movement for citizens at public places has been restricted, allowing the animals to showcase their natural behavior and roam around freely.
“The Central Zoo Authority has issued SoPs. We had to be careful during the lockdown. Animals are experiencing a sense of calm due to the lockdown and are exhibiting their natural behavior,” says Dr. Dipika Valsarajan, a veterinarian at the Byculla Zoo.
The caretakers are implementing various innovative ideas to help these animals enjoy their time at the zoo with minimal human interaction. Tigers are being fed by hanging chicken pieces on trees to keep them closer to the experience of hunting for food, sloth bears are tasked with fetching coconuts while the jackals are running in the wild and penguins are dancing away without being troubled by camera flashes.
“We are organizing enrichment programs for the animals. They are given small tasks to improve their natural instincts,” says Abhishek Satam, Zoo Biologist.
The Byculla Zoo was recently renovated based on inspiration from various themes from the Ranthambore forest.
Four-year-old male tiger Shakti along with six-year-old tigress Karishma had been brought to this new environment in January to enhance the experience of the visitors right before the city went into lockdown.
While these animals are making the most of their time, the Byculla zoo is all set to welcome visitors with an enhanced experience