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Lockdown gives respite to zoo animals

Published : 23 May 2021 10:01 PM | Updated : 24 May 2021 12:14 AM

Covid-19 pandemic has snatched some means of amusement from the mass people. So debarred are the animal lovers who find it engrossing to watch caged lives. But, the shutdown of the national zoo at Mirpur in the capital due to long lockdown has blessed the lives with a respite, like they deserve it after providing years of tireless recreation to the people.

The usual over-crowded zoo with an area of 186 acres has turned into a serene meadow nowadays. Beside wild lives, only a few staff and caretakers roam inside to look after the animals in a routine manner. The brick-built subways leading to different corners and cages have worn deserted look while a few of them behold fascinating, covered with the fallen Krisnochura flowers and pale leaves.

This traditional zoo had to shut down from March 20, last year due to the surge in Coronavirus pandemic. Since then, this orchestral land has been left alone to the wild lives as their regular being.

As crowd of visitors are not allowed to get into the zoo amid contagion risk, animals seem to breathe fresh air. They feel wild again with only wild species around, being out of the sight of human. Some of them have given birth to offspring in recent months and spending moments of tenderness for the time being.

There are around 3,000 preserved animals and birds in the national zoo. Of them, beasts and animals including hippopotamus, horse, zebra are the mentionable who gave birth to offspring.

Dr Muhammad Abdul Latif, Director of the zoo told Bangladesh Post that the breeding rate has increased in recent times. Different animals and birds gave birth to 42 offspring including 15 Emu birds, 16 peacocks, 2 zebras, 2 African horses and a hippopotamus between February 15 to May 1 period, this year.

He said, "As there are no visitors around, animals are having the tranquil and serene circumstances. Moreover, they are having proper food and diet regularly. This leads them to mate with each other and breed well."

In recent times, as the summer is ongoing, scorching heat is making the wildlife suffer as well, as much as the city dwellers in the capital. Many of the animals seem to be taking rest in the shade of trees while some of them get submerged in the water sources in their respective boundaries. The zoo authority has taken a few steps to lessen the sufferings of the animals due to burning heat.

In this context, the director told Bangladesh Post, "We made arrangements for sufficient supply of water to each of the animals. We spray water on some of them twice daily, while beds made of hays and greeneries have been installed on some roofs. Moreover, foods like cucumbers, carrots and watermelons are served daily."

This long break has made opportunities for some animals to get trained up with different skills. Besides, they spend their hours roaming around. In the last 3 months, two elephants have been trained with football. They can now kick and even score goals. 

"They have been trained up with football recently, we are looking forward to train them to play basketball soon. In addition, horses will be trained in the coming days so that they could amuse the visitors once the shutdown withdraws," Dr Osman Gani Shishir told Bangladesh Post, Head of the Large Animal Division.

The zoo authority said they want to bring more animals to the zoo including chimpanzee, red kangaroo and African lion. They further mentioned they are all set to open to visitors once the government withdraws lockdown and restrictions.