It’s not just the human beings but animals in the different zoos of the country also battled two different life-threatening extreme weather conditions — heat and cold strokes — which took a fatal toll on at least 70 four-legged animals in captivity across the country in the last three years, since 2016-17.
Andhra Pradesh which recorded maximum temperatures of over 45 degree Celsius in some of its stations topped the list with 13 animal deaths due to heat stroke while freezing temperatures killed 18 captive animals in various zoos in Haryana.
According to the data tabled in Parliament recently, in last three years since 2016-17 in Andhra Pradesh a total 13 animals died in GVK Industries Deer Park, Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park due to heat stroke while in Bihar’s Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park, excessive heat took toll on four animals during the period.
In Jharkhand, five animals died due to extreme heat in Jawaharlal Nehru Biological Park while in Tata Steel Zoological Park, three felines including infants couldn’t survive the cold conditions. In Haryana’s Mini zoo in Bhiwani, at least 18 animals couldn’t bear the cold temperature and died while in West Bengal’s Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, nine captive animals died due to Hypothermia.
In Gujarat zoos — Indroda Nature Park, Kamla Nehru Zoological Garden and Sayaji Baug Zoo — four animals died due to heat conditions during the period.
A senior official from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) which is a regulatory body for all the zoos in the country said that with respect to captive animals housed in recognised zoos, Schedule 4(3) of Rule 10 under the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009 mandates ‘the zoo shall ensure that the enclosure is safe and secure for the animals, animal keepers and the visitors and has requisite space for free movement, exercise and expression of natural behaviour by the animals.’
Accordingly it is the responsibility of Zoo management to make necessary arrangements in the animal enclosures to protect the animals from extreme climatic conditions during peak summer and winter seasons.
He also said States have been asked to constitute a Health Advisory Committee to advise zoo operators on animal healthcare related matters. In nine out of the last 10 years (till 2017) India has suffered from heatwaves which have killed close to 8,000 people, as per reports.