Summer samaritans ensure the safety of voiceless

With temperatures set to soar, let’s do whatever we can to keep the birds and animals cooler

By   |  Published: 18th Mar 2018  12:15 amUpdated: 19th Mar 2018  6:27 pm
Dr Ranganayaki Srinivas places feed for sparrows and other birds which flock her backyard. — Photo: Surya Sridhar

During the recently held Chembur festival, a couple decided to sell wildlife photographs from their collection of 25 years, to raise money for a continuous drinking water supply for wildlife. The couple, Dr Sarita and Dr PV Subramaniam, both dentists, took it upon themselves to provide solar-powered pumps for existing borewells to fill waterholes.

Like humans, water is a basic necessity for all the animals too. Even they face health issues like dehydration and viral infections. Many lose their lives due to unavailability of drinking water. As the dentist couple raises funds by selling their travel photographs, residents of Hyderabadis are also doing their bit in feeding birds and stray dogs.

Summer“If we are able to provide these animals with healthier surroundings, they will be less prone to diseases, which, in turn, provides us a healthier environment to live in,” says Lakshman, founder of Animals Water Bowl Project (AWBP) India, which distributes water bowls to interested people. AWBP India asks people to place it near their home and refill the bowls regularly.

Archana Akunuri places a mud bowl on her terrace for birds and cement bowl near her house for stray dogs. “I fill it with water and add Glucon-D, which helps the dogs to balance electrolyte and avoid sun stroke. Earlier, residents used to restrict us, but now most of them are coming forward to help the stray dogs. Even they understand the thirst of another being,” says the owner of Bhairav Camps Dog Boarding Facility.

When it comes to Birds, have a remarkable talent for regulating their body temperature. They love to wade in shallow water and splash around to cool themselves off. Dr Ranganayaki Srinivas, a retired teacher, made some space for birds and squirrels in her backyard. She says, “Keeping a bird bath half filled with sand and the top layer filled with water is very convenient for the birds to spend as much time as they want keeping their body cool.”

Ranganayaki has a bird bath with a shower attached, and big trees in her backyard which is frequented by many birds. She is amazed at the amount of water birds and squirrels drink throughout the day. “Sparing a little space in our balconies or gardens for birds and animals isn’t too difficult. Keeping both food and water next to each other attracts more birds. Birds love the green and earthly colours, and hence their eating bowls and bathtubs should be in earthen colour,” wraps up the resident of Miyapur.

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The Nehru Zoological Park offers special protection to wildlife to avoid summer stress. All animal keepers and park supervisors take preventive steps from time to time ensure the inmates have a hassle-free summer.

Green shade nets are placed over the roof of the bird enclosures as per the requirement and water troughs are kept at various places in the zoo for the free-ranging animals. HM Hanifulla, PRO at The Nehru Zoological Park, says, “Air conditions, exhaust fans and air coolers are installed in nocturnal houses and enclosures of chimpanzee, monkeys, tigers, jaguars, cheetah, lions and panthers. Foggers are installed in reptile house, and aviary area of the Zoo Park to keep them cool.”

Animals are also given ample amounts of drinking water from time to time to avoid dehydration. Dr MA Hakeem, assistant director of The Nehru Zoological Park says, “Glucon-d, electral powder, vitamin-C supplements, B-complex supplements and thermo care liquid are dissolved in the water and given to the animals and birds. In addition, seasonal fruits such as watermelon, muskmelon and all kinds of citrus fruits are also given to apes, primates, birds and bears.”

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An elephant cools off under the spray of water at the Nehru Zoological Park; (Left) A group of pelicans
flock to the water at their enclosure. — Photos: Hrudayanand