TAMIL NADU

'Kraals' for herbivores at Vandalur zoo

A nilghai at the Vandalur Zoo.

A nilghai at the Vandalur Zoo.  

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Chennai May 22. Isolating and treating a sick or wounded herbivore is no more a difficult task for the veterinarians of the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP), Vandalur. They have created a `kraal' in one corner of the zoo, where the animals assemble. The vets observe them and the herbivores with physical problems isolated in the facility.

A kraal is nothing but fencing of a portion of the moated enclosure. The authorities have chosen one corner of the enclosure, mainly to keep visitors away from disturbing the animals, they say.

Kraals have been created in the spotted deer, blackbuck, sambar, nilghai, barking deer, hog deer, brow-antlered deer, moufflon and bison enclosures, says the zoo director, P. C. Tyagi.

Normally tranquilising any herbivore is not easy. The moment they feel that someone is chasing them, the animals kick the ground and collapse. Even when dogs chase them, they do not die due to the bite, but due to severe stress and strain. Moreover, the herbivores, particularly the deer species, have a small heart, which cannot withstand even the smallest shock due to which they collapse instantly, say researchers.

The kraals have been created in the herbivore enclosures with a view to overcoming this problem, say the authorities. To make the animals get accustomed to the kraal, the feed is kept inside the premises now, says biologist Manimozhi. The Central Zoo Authority of India has provided a guideline with regard to making of such kraals, he says.

Apart from treating animals, the kraal also acts as a place for isolating animals in rut. For example, during mating season, there will be a lot of fighting among males, which leads to problems for the veterinarians. Using the new facility, the males can be kept in isolation from other males. For research scholars, the new facility will help in observing the movement and other activities of the animal, which can be recorded. Studying their behavioural pattern will then be easy, say the authorities.

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