Monday, January 20, 2014

Kanpur Zoo lion left out in the cold, literally.

TNN Jan 18, 2014, 12.13AM IST
KANPUR: Five-year-old Asiatic lion Vishnu of Kanpur zoo was left out in the cold on Friday. Literally.
Brought out of its cage for a dekko by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the poor animal braved hailstorm and rain under a tree as the zoo keepers ostensibly forgot to send it back in its enclosure following cancellation of CM's visit due to inclement weather. Later, it was the turn of the lion to throw tantrums. Wet to the skin in the biting cold, Vishnu refused to return to its enclosure. It was only after the rain stopped for a few minutes that the zoo staff somehow managed to persuade it to return to the cage.

As soon as Vishnu entered the cage, the staff immediately switched on blowers to provide it some warmth. Despite taking preventive measures, zoo authorities are keeping fingers crossed. Worry was writ large on their faces as they feared that Vishnu could take ill after getting drenched in rain in the chilly weather. Absence of any shelter in the lion enclosure only added to Vishnu's woes as it had only tree shade to protect itself from hails and rain.
According to vet experts, lions were susceptible to hypothermia (body temperature falling below normal mark) after getting drenched. Besides, they were also susceptible to heart and lung aliments.
Zoo director K Thomas said that two blowers were deployed to provide warmth to Vishnu. "As lion is the king of the jungle, we were unable to force it back into its enclosure. Repeated attempts by the keepers failed to evoke any response from Vishnu."
A keeper told TOI that for past couple of days, zoo inmates were under stress that resulted in a change in their behavioral pattern. He said that animals especially, the herbivores, had reduced feed intake. This, according to him, was due to the increased vehicular rush of the four-wheelers with hooters.
"As the chief minister had to come to the zoo, the police and administrative officials were coming here. Their vehicles fitted with pressure horns disturbed the animals. This can affect the health of the animals," said the keeper on the condition of not being named.

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