Of the 81 enclosures, those provided with solar-powered lights are the lion safari (old and new) and enclosures for white tigers, panthers, bears, hyenas, chimpanzee, a pair of lions, jackal, wild dog, owl in night safari, sloth bear and brown bear. "It is part of our efforts to provide safe lighting facilities in the enclosures because solar-powered lights help avoid short circuits," zoo director KSSVP Reddy told The Times Of India.
Each enclosure has a 33 volt bulb connected to a solar panel and a 250kv battery. Each panel can supply power for eight hours. However, initially, power would be only for three hours because the authorities want it to be bright during the evening feeding hours. "In the darkness, keepers are unable to see if an animal has come into its cage. Soon, we will replace the solar lights with LED bulbs to ensure energy efficiency," said zoo officials.
The timing of the lighting would be extended later to help animal keepers monitor the animals round the clock.
"All solar panels are mono crystal panels that ensure maximum energy efficiency," G P Rudhrashan of Shri Kanakka Durga Electrical Industries, which installed the lights, told TOI.
The Rs 2 lakh project, taken up on pilot basis, is not only aimed at tapping the vast solar energy potential. It also aims at ensuring safety of wild species, especially those in enclosures, at night. A few months ago, an intruder was caught roaming around the white tigers enclosure in the evening (after visiting hours) with a bag containing a knife, a screwdriver and a rope. He was let off after an hour of questioning. After a few other such incidents later, zoo officials roped in the services of private security personnel. From December 1, 2010, four persons from a private security service were deployed along with forest rangers for night patrolling.