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Nandankanan turns in to a maternity ward

Thu, 06 Mar 2008 08:46:00
Nandankanan Zoo has the rare distinction of successful rearing and captive breeding of highly threatened species like Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata ).
Ajit Pattnaik
No photo
Bhubaneswar, Feb 06
There is every reason to cheer at Nandankanan Zoo. The Zoo is teeming with new born including two cute and cuddly normal colour tiger cubs and difficult to breed Indian Pangolin.

The Zoo is teaming with 20 babies those are born just during last one month. One would feel as if the entire Zoo is turned in to a maternity ward. Nandankanan Zoo has the rare distinction of successful rearing and captive breeding of highly threatened species like Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata ).

During current financial year there have been two births one of them was born just yesterday!  These are the testament of a progressive Zoo. Reproductive health is a good indicator of the overall status of health of a species in captivity.

Nandankanan promotes itself as an institution that can be utilized in every possible way to benefit the conservation of species in the wild. To achieve sustainable ex-situ conservation objectives, emphasis is laid on, animal welfare, health care, ethical standards and excellence in standards of animal husbandry with emphasis on enclosure enrichments.

 Till first week of March there have been 144 births during current financial year. Out of which there have been 72 mammals, 58 Birds and 12 Reptiles. The children are enjoying the most the charming babies moving with the proud mothers.

Breakthrough in health care front

Another distinct achievement in the health care front during this financial year has been the record low rate of mortality.

Till the 1st Week of March 2008 there have been only 57 deaths which have been the lowest in the history of the Nandankanan as can be visualized from the following table.

This is works out to less than  5% and is one of the lowest rate of mortality in any Indian Zoo.   

Year    Death of animals and birds
2004-05    90
2005-06    90
2006-07    70
(Till 5th March 2008)    57
To achieve this health care of the captive animals and birds have been given utmost priority during the current year. To provide the best health care to the captive species three veterinary surgeons look after the day to day health status of the animals.

There is a well equipped zoo hospital with adequate infrastructures necessary to monitor and provide best possible health care to the captive animals. Health monitoring is carried out on daily basis .Periodic vaccination and de-worming protocols are followed meticulously.

Care is taken to protect the animals from the extreme weather conditions. Special winter and summer arrangements are made to protect the animals. Five members “Technical Committee” constituted by   Government of Orissa regularly  monitor and review the health care and related matters.

The committee meets at regular interval to take stock of the situation.  A close liaison is maintained with the Orissa Veterinary College(OVC) and the services of  “Health Committee” from OVC is requisitioned in case of emergency.

The services of “ Centre of Wildlife Health” functioning from Orissa Veterinary College, Bhubaneswar is also availed. The equipment and the infrastructure of the CWH of OVC are use almost in a captive manner by the Zoo.

For spread of the communicable diseases from the adjoining villages ring vaccination to the cattle population is carried out in collaboration with the State Veterinary Department.

To develop a protocol for the management of the ecto and endo parasite a collaborative research project with OVC with the funding support of the CZA is being carried out.

 As there is no rescue center for wild animal exist in the state so the rearing of the rescued and orphaned young ones are shouldered by the zoo. A number of rescued and injured animals are provide necessary health care and are rehabilitated.


Quality feed is key to the sound health of the captive animal in a zoo. To achieve this a captive slaughter house is made operational in the zoo to provide quality and fresh meat to the carnivores with proper ante and post mortem scanning of the animals slaughtered daily by the zoo doctors with effect from August 2007.

Nandankanan is the first zoo in India to set up the captive slaughter house. In addition to this to provide quality fodder to the herbivores a captive fodder firm is developed to achieve 100% self sufficiency.

Fodder crop is grown here seasonally keeping in mind the nutritional requirements of the herbivores. All the feeds procured are meticulously screened and disinfected before they are supplied to the captive animals and birds.

Ajit Patnaik works as the director of Nandankanan zoo

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