CHENNAI: To ensure that space crunch for white tigers
will not affect its captive breeding programme, the Arignar Anna Zoological Park
in Vandalur has begun constructing a modern cage for the big cats.
On Thursday, workers were busy with the construction process that began a few days ago. The concrete floor and pillars have already been built. “The new structure, which will be linked to the existing one, is being built at an estimated Rs two lakh and is expected to be completed in a few weeks. The zoo sees around 4,000 visitors during weekdays while the figure doubles during holidays and weekends,” zoo director KSSVP Reddy, who is also chief conservator of forests, told The Times Of India.
The new cage, which includes a sloping roof, will be 43.29 feet (13 mts) tall at its highest point and 11 metres (36.63 ft) wide — enough for four adult tigers at a time. It will have separate entries for animal keeper K Chelliah and the big cats. Solar-power lights will illuminate it and it will have good ventilation.
According to officials, the enclosure for a pair of fully grown adult tigers in a big city zoo should be at least 12 feet high, 12 feet long and 12 feet wide. The existing enclosure measures 26.64 feet in height, length and width. “The existing cages were built many years ago when the tiger population in the zoo was low. Today, the population has increased manifold thanks to the successful implementation of captive breeding. So, there is a need to expand the existing accommodation,” said an official. In the existing enclosure, eight-year-old white tiger Bhishmar occupies a small cage, two-year-old tigresses Narmada and Akanksha occupy another small cage while the big cage is occupied by their mother, seven-year-old-Anu, and her second set of cubs — Sembian, Indira and Valli. Of the 15 tigers in the zoo, seven are white tigers.