In a major development, the Mysuru zoo has decided to provide chicken to the big cats in the zoo instead of beef. The development comes in the aftermath of the implementation of anti-cow slaughter ordinance by the BJP government in Karnataka.
As per reports, the Mysuru zoo is home to over 35 big cats, including lions, leopards and tigers. Their diet will now be shifted from beef to chicken after beef shops were shut down in the city. The zoo earlier had a requirement of about 350 kg of beef every day. Reportedly, the authorities have already begun feeding chicken to the big cats, although the quantity has been slashed down by 20% due to the high-fat content of chicken.
Veterinary doctors will be supervising the big cats at the Mysuru zoo to track any behavioural or psychological changes, following the change in diet. However, the outbreak of bird flu in the country has raised concerns among the zoo authorities. A disruption in the supply of chicken, amidst bird flu scare, might lead to added financial expenditure. The authorities will then have to feed mutton to the big cats, which is 3-4 times the price of chicken. As such, they are now exploring the option of feeding sea fish to the big cats.
Not much difference in parameters observed after discarding beef from diet
This is not the first time that zoo carnivores are being fed chicken instead of beef. Amidst the Coronavirus lockdown, authorities at the Bengaluru Bannerghatta Biological Park were fed chicken for 3-4 months during the period of April and July 2020. Member Secretary of Zoo Authority of Karnataka, informed that the unavailability of beef led to the change in diet.
Veterinarians took blood samples of the big cats from Bannerghatta Biological Park, who were on a chicken diet, and compared it to the blood samples of the carnivores from the Mysuru zoo, who were on a beef diet. BP Ravi informed, “Though there was not much change in the parameters, a noticeable difference was the weight put on by the Bannerghatta carnivores fed on chicken. So, the veterinarians reduced the quantity of chicken supplied to them.”