Still under lockdown, the zoo’s tigers are enjoying a moment of solace with their handlers, and measures are being taken to socialise them correctly when the zoo can resume operations.
According to the zookeeper, the animals are happy with the lockdown respite. “People love to come and see the tigers, as they are the main attraction. So many people like to call out to the tigers, but they’ve been trained to respond only to us. As they’re reserved animals, they’re enjoying this moment of quietness, but I’m sure they are excited to see people again soon,” said Chellaia.
With a total of 17 tigers in total, white and Royal Bengal, zookeepers are ensuring that the tigers remain socialised with the zookeepers. “One of the white tigers gave birth recently and we are caring for the cubs in our breeding centre. There, along with their mother, they are gradually exposed to human contact,” said an official.
As the cubs are young still, their personalities are shy and quiet, but Chellaia feels he would be able to understand them soon enough, as he spends six days a week with them. “I love to come here and see the animals. This disease is worrying, but when I see the tigers’ faces, I forget about all that. They are like my own children, and caring for them over these last few months has brought me a lot of mental solace,” said Chellaia.
While the zoo remains closed, a live-streaming facility remains active on its website for enthusiasts to check in on the animals.