Central Zoo gets a new member

Central Zoo gets a new member

Akanshya Shah

KATHMANDU, Jan 12: The country´s only zoo has got a new member. A five-year old giant tigress named Narayani, to be kept at the Central Zoo at Jawalakhel, was brought to Kathmandu from Chitwan on Friday night.

She will be released in an enclosure at the zoo after keeping her under quarantine for a month. The National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) officials, who were worried about her health till Sunday, said Narayani is slowly recouping after the journey from Chitwan which made her drowsy and hostile. Officials said the 150-kg tigress consumed five kg of meat Monday.

“We were extremely worried about her health till yesterday, but things now seem stable and normal with her,” Sarita Jnawali, project manager at the Central Zoo, told myrepublica.com.

Narayani was given de-worming tablet on Sunday after worms were detected in her stool. Under quarantine observation, she will be given deworming tablet after 15 days, vaccinated for feline panleukopenia and rabies and subjected to check-up for heartbeat, diseases or parasite infections.

“It took seven hours to bring her to Kathmandu. We checked her every hour,” said Dr Jeewan Thapa, a veterinary officer at the zoo. Thapa added, “She was given de-worming tablet and will be under quarantine observation for another 30 days.”

Tigers adjust to the environment very fast but mental preparedness is important before releasing them with a partner or being exposed to the public.

“We will ensure that she is both physically and mentally fit before we expose her,” Dr Thapa said. Narayani was rescued in Chitwan five years ago and that is why it will be much easier to release her faster as she is used to human presence.

With Narayani´s entry, the zoo now has four tigers. She will be paired up with Shiva, the male tiger living in the zoo for the past four years. The other couple is Kanchha and Bhunti. Tigers have a comparatively shorter lifespan and they can start breeding at the age of four years.

There are two enclosures of about 500 sq m for tigers in the Central Zoo. With the addition, officials have, said the zoo will face space constraint.

“The available space is just enough for the four animals here,” Jnawali said. She added, “We got a letter on Narayani´s transfer to the Central Zoo only two months ago.” Jnawali also argued that NTNC, that manages the zoo, has proposed to reduce the species in the zoo from 108 to about 75-80. “We must limit the number to less than 80 and look at giving the animals proper habitat.”

Narayani´s arrival also means that the cost for the tiger care will go up. Normally, the zoo spends approximately Rs 450,000 on food and medical requirements of each tiger every year. Each tiger is de-wormed every three months, given vitamins and minerals and 5 kg of meat six days a week. On Saturdays, tigers are kept on fast.

In addition, additional items like logs need to be added in the enclosures so to give a natural feel and keep the tigers engaged. “It would be better to add logs to keep them busy,” says Hari Krishna Shrestha, who is working as a helper at the zoo for 14 years. He, however, added, “Our enclosures are pretty good, at least for the tigers.”

With a pond, a cage and an elevated wooden platform inside the enclosures, Nepal´s tiger enclosures are considered one of the best in the world.

“No doubt the tiger enclosures are up to the standard, but even one more addition now would make it crowded,” Manoj Gautam, a conservationist and an animal welfare activist, said.




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