The final days of summer are here and the sun is throwing intensity to its full. Amidst the burning heat, where every citizen struggle with the scorch of navtapa, the wilds too are running for the shade to avoid simmering temperatures in Nagpur. Taking cue from the last year’s incident when large number of peacocks and deer reportedly died of extreme heat conditions, Maharajbagh zoo appears extra cautious this year to relieve the wild animals of the unbearable heat. And the topping up the treatment are the ‘special residents’ who catch everyone’s attention – the Royal Bengal Tiger. They are kept in the confines blown with the cool breeze through jumbo coolers placed outside their cages.
The Maharajbagh Zoo comprises a wide range of wild species like tigers, leopards, bears, monkeys, foxes, peacocks, parrots of paradise, crocodiles, emu, wild cats and others are being taken extra care in extraordinary ways by Zookeepers. The cooling measures that are being adopted include spreading large perforated green covers all over the cages and open spaces, jute sacks soaked in water, showering of water, round-the-clock operation of heavy duty coolers, continued supply of drinking water and above all, constant watch to ensure everything is in place.
S Baviskar, a top official of Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapith (PDKV) in Nagpur who oversees the affairs of Maharajbagh Zoo, told Nagpur Today, “Every employee has been entrusted with the task of looking after the royal residents of the zoo. We are leaving nothing for chance in providing cool and healthy environment to the endangered species. The animals and birds are being given doses of minerals and vitamin tablets along with regular oral rehydration solution (ORS) in large quantity. The ORS works wonder in summer and prevents too much liquid being lost from the body. These and other medications administered from time to time have been coming handy in maintaining good health of the flora and fauna species which are in abundance in the Maharaja of Gardens in Orange City.”
Set up in 1894, Maharajbagh served as hunting grounds for Raje Bhonsle in its initial days. However, the place was transferred to Agriculture Department of CP and Berar State by the Britishers. At that time the Maharajbagh comprised of few cages with one or two wild animals. In 1969, the green spot in the centre of the city was handed over to Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapith (PDKV), Akola. From there onwards, the Maharajbagh was looked after by the Associate Dean of Agriculture College of PDKV. The age old cages had turned dilapidated but the PDKV started renovation and beautification of the favourite place of kids, youths, and the aged.