From popsicles to Chicken Keema: How Byculla Zoo’s special menu helps animals beat the heat | Mumbai News

As Mumbai experiences one of the worst heatwaves in more than a decade, the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Botanical Udyan and Zoo (Byculla Zoo) has rolled out a special menu – ranging from Chicken Keema to popsicles – to ensure their inmates can survive the scorching summer defeat. .

One of the greenest areas in the city, Byculla Zoo, with its more than 6,000 trees, generally has a lower atmospheric temperature compared to the rest of the city. Yet every year, scientists and zoo officials create a special menu that keeps the animals cool and healthy.

With animals regularly tucking into popsicles, meat ice cream cakes and hydrating fruits, officials say these are among the staple delicacies high on the annual summer menu. While the popsicles and ice cream cookies provide cooling and relief, hydrating fruits help balance the animals’ water levels.

Meanwhile, the menu of the recently launched Crocodile Trail, which features crocodiles, gharials and turtles, includes chicken keema, fish and other forms of meat.

Festive offer

Abhishek Satam, a biologist at the zoo, said The Indian Express that, as with humans, the proportions of the animals’ diet are determined according to their age and weight.

For Coco (female), Stella (female) and Jerry (male) – the newest crop of baby penguins born at the zoo last November – the zoo has created a menu high in mackerels and other fish, in an effort to stimulate their growth at their young age. However, because they live in an environment where temperature and humidity are controlled, Humboldt penguins are not bothered by the summer heat.

Responding to questions about the birds, Satam said, “Although the zoo has created artificial nests for birds to live and mate comfortably, the birds prefer to build their own nests. The facility then provides the birds with vermicompost consisting of leaves, worms and sunflower seeds.”

In an effort to keep the animals moving despite the heat – and thus ensure their physiological growth – the zoo also conducts enrichment exercises, where the animals are given treats as they move and exercise. For sloth bears, the zoo designs a path laden with berries and honey spread throughout the enclosure, encouraging them to dig through the half-buried bamboo chute. Tigers and jackals, meanwhile, are encouraged to stretch out by tying pieces of chicken higher to the trees.

As animals make a splash in the water bodies amid high temperatures, the zoo has also recently installed a special LSS filtration system that cleans the water bodies every hour and removes all waste, algae, charcoal and other materials that harm the animals.

The writer is an intern at The Indian Express.