Elderly lions, leopard getting extra attention at Indian zoo
Zoo ‘veterans’ getting special care
Fifteen animals have crossed their average life span
Most of the identified animals are carnivores
They have been moved to summer house
HYDERABAD: Hansraj has crossed the age of 20 years and so does Karuna. Even Lakshmi and Bujji have crossed the 20-year-mark and have been put in the list of animals categorised as ‘veterans’ at the Nehru Zoological Park in the city.
The zoo has took up the task of identifying animals, which have either entered their prime or crossed their average lifespan has ended up with a list of 15, most of which happens to be carnivores. “We have ‘history sheets’ of animals. In case of animals that were not born here, we go by the parentage, approximate date of birth and other factors to arrive at their age,” says S. Sarvanan, Zoo Curator.
In wilderness, the average longevity of carnivores such as lions, tigers and panthers is put at 15 years to 20 years, while in captivity, they live more.
Featuring in the list prepared by the zoo happen to be Asiatic lions, two African lions, one white lion and a panther. “The lifespan of panthers is known to be about 15 years and our panther has already crossed 18 years of age,” he points out.
A wild ass and a Malayan Sun Bear apart from four monkeys too have been categorised as old in age and include two Colobus monkeys, one wolf monkey and a golden rhesus monkey. Rani and Asha are the two elephants at the zoo which have crossed 65 years of age.
The zoo took up the exercise of identifying these animals to be able to provide special care such as special diets and more extensive health monitoring. “For carnivores, the usual diet is beef but in these cases we will also work on soft meat to help them feed according to their age.
Also, they will be given vitamin supplements and liver tonics,” informs Mr. Sarvanan. The identified animals have been moved to the summer house and are regularly monitored by the medical team at the zoo.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org