8 Jun, 2007 – 0407 hrs IST
Tanushree Roy Chowdhury/TIMES NEWS NETWORK
NEW DELHI: This summer, visitors at Delhi zoo will be delighted to find a “small” addition to the jaguar enclosure — eight-month-old Ishu.
Zoo authorities are excited about releasing the cub in the jaguar enclosure in another 10 days. Getting the cub ready for the public this season, zoo veterinarian Dr Panneer Selvam said he was pleased with the progress that Ishu has made. The cub has been kept under a strict vigil regarding his diet and hygiene which was carefully monitored on a day-to-day basis.
Born on October 28 last year to 12-year-old Sundar and nine-year-old Sundari — both American jaguars who were brought in from Sri Lanka in 2002 — Ishu was kept away from his mother after it was established that Sundari not only neglected the cubs but eventually ate them too. Ishu was then adopted by a foster mother — a bitch who fed Ishu her milk.
“We had noticed that the mother (Sundari) wasn’t very keen to feed her cubs and after we lost some cubs in the past, it was decided the only way out to help the cubs survive was to shift them to hand-rearing,” said Dr Selvam.
Ishu is the sixth of the nine jaguar cubs delivered by the pair which have all been successfully hand-reared. Like other cubs in the past, Ishu is doing fairly well. Presently the zoo has five jaguars, excluding Ishu who will soon be shifted in the jaguar enclosure, along with two-year-old Mayuri.
“Since all these cubs have been hand-reared, they are less aggressive and do not fight much. But we are being cautious and would slowly and carefully let the cub inside the enclosure so that the bigger cats do not injure it,” added Dr Selvam.
Ishu was given bitch and goat milk in the initial months after being kept away from his mother. Later, his diet plan was changed to chicken soup and then boiled chicken and beef. He is now being fed raw beef which is what is provided to adult jaguars also.
Pleased that the cub had coped well with the diet plan and gained the desired weight, zoo director D N Singh said: “After a fitness examination, Ishu will be released in the jaguar enclosure within the next seven to 10 days.”