Sunday, June 29, 2008

Paediatric problems in Lucknow Zoo

Rearing kids is no mokey business. Lucknow Zoo authorities know this first hand. They are faced with peculiar problem of raising the new-borns of these days. Many of the cages have practically been turned into paediatric wards. There is a new-born Bonnet monkey, a spotted deer fawn, a Saras chik and a zebra calf.

Though some Lucknow residents have come forward to sponser the upkeep of the new-borns, the zoo authorities are working overtime for the survival of these animal kids. The most unfortunate of the lot is Bonnet monkey kid which has been abandoned by her natural mother. The zoo vet Dr Utkarsh Shukla has no idea why the mother rejected her newborn. The newborn has been named and has been adopted by a local resident Mayur Tomar Singh. The problem however is that even after a month it is still very difficult to feed her. She refuses to drink milk or water and keeps on looking blankly as if asking why has she been abandoned by her mother.

The spotted deer fawn was also creating similar anxiety for the zoo authorities till recently. For almost 25 days after her berth in May, she would refuse to feed on her mother's milk. She would keep wandering in the deer enclosure and would even trip because of weakness. The zoo authorities had to keep feeding the fawn and gradually intiating him to feed on her mother's milk. Her mother also started coming into the rejection mode but fortunately the fawn has started sucking her mother's milk and the bond is getting stronger.

The Saras chick is still too small and prefers remaining in close proximity of her parents. It perhaps realises that it can easily become prey of eagles if the parents are not around to protect her. But the authorities are still watchful. The chick is not giving any problems as far as eating is concerned. "But you never know when it decides that it is old enough to wander away from the parents. We have posted guards to keep an eye on it till it can manage on its own, " says Dr Shukla. Rearing kids is no joke, he agrees.

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