Coconut water to keep zoo animals cool

Patna, April 15 (IANS) With the mercury crossing 40 degrees celsius, chimpanzees, bears, apes and other animals in Bihar’s Sanjay Gandhi Botanical Garden are beating the summer heat with fresh daab (fresh coconut water), honey and fruits like watermelons, grapes and bananas with the mercury, officials said.

Authorities of the Botanical Garden, locally known as Patna Zoo, have introduced a special summer menu to protect animals from the heat.

Abhay Kumar, director of Patna Zoo, said that a pair of chimpanzees are given daab to keep them cool during summer.

“It is for the first time that coconut water is being given to chimpanzees brought here from the Nandan Kanan Zoo in Bhubaneswar to keep them cool and healthy in this heat,” Kumar told IANS.

He said that the chimpanzees relish daab. “The coconut water is rich in carbohydrates and electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and magnesium. It prevents them from getting dehydrated,” Kumar said.

“Coconut water is like an energy drink for the chimpanzees,” Kumar said.

Last winter, the chimpanzees were fed chavanprash to ward off the cold wave.

He said that 10 bears in the zoo are fed four kg of Dabur honey mixed with cow milk. Watermelons, cucumber, pomegranate juice and bananas are also given to them and to the apes.

Ajeet, a zoo veterinary doctor, said that glucose was a routine drink of the big cats during summer. One quintal of beef and 60 kg of chicken are fed to the big cats each day.

“Nearly 50 species of birds are given health drinks like B complex,” he said.

Another official at the zoo said that one quintal of bananas, 50 kg of watermelons, five bottles of Dabur honey, 200 packs of glucose and many litres of coconut water are consumed by the animals each day.

Apart from these, 20 quintals of baseem grass is eaten by two giraffes brought here from South America.

The zoo spends nearly Rs.17 lakh a month to provide high quality food to animals and birds housed there.

(Imran Khan can be contacted at [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]>)

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