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When zoo animals celebrate their birthdays!


The images and videos of birthday celebrations of male gorilla Thabo at the Mysuru zoo had caught the imagination of animal lovers. The zoo management commemorates the birthdays of animals, especially the primates, elephants, rhinos and others, to spread the word about how important the species are, their conservation and how the keepers adoringly take care of them.

The keepers make the special occasions of these animals extraordinary and make them happy, feeding them their favorite foods. It is kind of fun and memorable for visitors too to watch the celebrations and carry the reminiscences with them.

The 15-year-old Thabo’s birthday celebration is one such example of how the occasions are made special. The young primate was treated with its favorite foods like carrot and cucumber, and birthday cake-shaped fruity treats. On seeing the arrangement, it ran from its holding room to savour the treats.

ZAK Member Secretary and APCCF B.P. Ravi said, “It’s not just in Mysuru zoo but also in other zoos too like Bannerghatta Biological Park where the birthdays of animals are celebrated. It is one special occasion for the keepers and staff to express their warmth towards the animals in a special way. Such occasions give a platform to make those days memorable.”

Elephants, chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans develop a special bond with those who take care of them daily and respond to their commands. Keeping them happy is as important as keeping them healthy under the animal management practices, Mr. Ravi explained.

Even on occasions like Tiger Day, Rhino Day, Elephant Day, the animal species are specially fed and the visitors are educated about these animals and their support sought in wildlife conservation, Mr Ravi said.

“It all depends on the interests of animal keepers and their association with the species they are taking care of. Usually, they develop a strong bond with animals that drives them to go for celebrations like what was done for Thabo,” says Zoo Director Ajit Kulkarni.

A day before the birthdays, the kitchen budget is enhanced so that the food items that the animal likes are procured. a

The Mysuru zoo’s long wait for displaying gorillas after f Polo, the Western Lowland gorilla, died in 2014, ended last year when it got two male gorillas from Germany. The European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)-Gorilla European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) spared the gorillas after the zoo’s persistent and long-drawn correspondence with it. Thabo and 9-year-old Demba were brought here last August from Germany.

The Mysuru zoo is the only zoo in the country to house gorillas. When Polo was alive, the zoo was then the sole zoo housing the animal. Thabo and Demba are displayed in the newly-constructed enclosure that was built by Infosys Foundation at a cost of ₹2.5 crore.



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