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    1. Long Distance Road Transportation of Hippopotamus
    2. Population Control By Segregation Of Blackbucks At Kanpur Zoo
    3. Biosecure feed store at Kanpur Zoological Park
    4.Chimpanzee enclosure enrichment
 
 
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3. Biosecure feed store at Kanpur Zoological Park

Introduction- The Zoological parks are the public places where a collection of wild animals is maintained for Education, Awareness, Research and Conservation purposes. The visitors come to the zoological park for recreation. The aim of the manager of the zoological park is to maintain the zoo in such a way to inculcate empathy for wild animals amongst the visitors. All this is possible only when the animal collection is maintained in good health and is kept in the enclosures which emulate the natural surroundings of the animal.

            Kanpur Zoological Park is established in an area of about 76.56 Ha. The area is undulating and was Bangar area of the river Ganges. Khadar is the extension of the sandy banks of the river which further extends in to an undulating ravenous area called the Bangar. The entire area has been planted by Mr.George Burney Allen, the British industrialist, during pre independence period between 1813 – 1819.Hence the area of the zoological park is also known as Allen Forest .With the undulating terrain and full of greenery the area of the zoo gives the feel of natural forest. The animal enclosures which are designed on the modern management principles give sufficient place for the animals inside the enclosures, to express their biological behavior and proper exercise. Thus the environment in which the animals are kept is in favour of wild animal conservation programme. This gives the first hand feel of well being of the animals. It also helps in spreading empathy towards wild animals.

            In the zoo situation the animals are subjected to various infections due to feral animals inside the zoo, contact of visitors with the zoo staff and in turn the zoo staff are in contact with Zoo inmates and the diseases transmitted from the staff to the animals and vice versa .The feed which comes from the farm and the dry feed stored in the zoo store also carry the disease spreading germs etc., The feed stored in the zoo store attracts flies and rodents which spread the diseases.

            Some of the diseases of wild animals and the causative organisms are as follows –

I.       Bacterial Diseases:

·                Anthrax: Caused by Bacillus anthracis .It is of three types 1- Cutaneous anthrax, inhalation anthrax, gastro intestinal anthrax. The animals that are infected are Spotted deer, gaurs, hog deer, sambar, leopard, primates, rhinos, etc. The blood smear of infested animals shows short chains of rod with truncated ends.

·                Clostridial infections: caused by

       i.     Clostridium perfringens type D-enterotoxaemia in deer, sloth bear.

      ii.     Clostridium chauvoei-black quarter in black buck.

    iii.     Clostridium tetani-tetanus in elephants, rhinos etc.

          Symptoms: In enterotoxaemia infections the affected animals show ballooned up intestine, congestion in other organs and black quarter affected animals show symptoms of gangrenous myositis.

·                Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called a spirochete. Leptospirosis can be transmitted by many animals such as rats, foxes etc., It is transmitted through infected soil, water, urine and tissues of infected animal. The disease is seen in the animals like tigers, deer, elephants, lions, sambars, nilgai, black buck etc. The important symptoms are still birth and abortion in the infested animals.

·                Paratuberculosis: is caused by Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, in spotted deers, and in swamp deers. The disease spreads from ingestion of food and water contaminated by faeces of infected animals. The main signs of the disease are diarrhea and severe emaciation

·                Pasteurellosis: caused by Pasteurella multocida, P. haemolytica in sambars, nilgai, spotted deer, black buck, hippos, lion, tiger, wolf etc. animals, causing congestion in their internal organs, haemorrhage, consolidation in lungs etc.

·                Plague: is caused by Yersinia pestis in baboons, rhesus monkeys etc. the diseased animals show the symptoms like fever, dullness early prostration etc.The disease is spread by infected flea and rodents.

·                Spaphylococcosis: caused by Staphylococcus aureus in tigers, lions, rhinos and zebras, causing arthritis and enteritis in them.

·                Salmonellosis: This disease occurs in zoos due to the poor management of the animals; raw eggs and is frequently seen in sambars, black bucks, jackals, leopards, chimps, rhinos etc characterized by the symptoms like diarrohea, dysentery etc

·                Tuberculosis: This zoonotic disease is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis in Rhinos, non-human primates, giraffes, deer-barking, hog, thamin, spotted, sambars, nilgai, black buck etc, elephants, lions, tigers, leopards, bears, pythons, crocodiles etc infesting lungs, intestine, and viscera of these animals. The main route of infection is through respiratory tract.

·                Shigellosis: occurs in lions, tigers, primates etc. the infested animals show symptoms like pyrexia, dysentery. The disease is characterized by severe congestion in intestine, diarrhea, mucus and blood in the stool.

 

II.            Viral infections:

·         Aflatoxicosis: is caused due to contaminated food in bears and deers. The kidneys  become pale in colour, grayish white nodules can be seen on liver of infested animals

·         African horse sickness: commonly occurs in horses, zebras, monkeys etc. the disease spreads through culicoides bites, and from infected domestic equines.

·         Rabies: occurs in white tigers, Sloth bear, lions, civet cats, jackals, leopards, rhinos etc animals. The disease spreads mainly among the inmates of the zoo through the stray animals like dogs, free ranging animals like civets etc.

·         Foot and mouth disease: caused by ‘O’ Asia-1 strain in Arictodatylans. The source of infection among the animals of zoo can be contaminated grasses brought from the infested areas (outside the zoo)

·         Reinderpest: seen among nilgai, sambar, chitals etc. The natural infection among the wild ruminants is mostly air-borne and by ingesting contaminated food. The infested animals show symptoms like diarrheic faeces containing blood. Oral and nasal mucosae-hemorrhages, abomasal mucosa-swollen and congested, caecal and colonic mucosae, mesenteric lymph nodes are some of the commnly occurring other symptoms of the disease.

·         Canine distemper: caused by RNA paramyxovirus.It is caused in small pups. Canine distemper virus tends to orient its infection towards the lymphoid, epithelial, and nervous tissues. 

·         Infectious hepatitis: (jaundice) Inflammation in the liver.Loss of apetite, fever, The disease is caused due to contaminated water, food etc.,

·         Infectious feline enteritis: occurs in the felidae with symptoms like pasty to watery diarrhoea and rapid emaciation and dehydration.

·         Mycotic diseases:

A.   Intestinal candidiasis—in sambar, black buck.

B.   Nercotic dermatomycoses— in gharial

C.   Dermatomycoses —in chital, tiger, lion hyena etc.

III         Some of the helminthic diseases are:                                 

Trematodiasis:

Fasciolosis, Paragonimosis, Schistosomiasis, Paramphistomiasis 

Cestodiasis: 

Taeniasis, Dipylidiosis, Echinococcosis, Diphyllobothriosis

Nematodiasis:

Ascariasis, Oxyuriasis, Capillariasis

IV        Some of the protozoan diseases are:

Trypnasomiasis, Plasmodiasis, Toxoplasmosis, Sarcocystosis, Coccidiosis, Babesiosis, Entamoebiasis, Trichomoniasis, Leishmaniasis

 

Biosecurity: Biosecurity is a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, quarantined pests, invasive alien species, living modified organisms. While biosecurity does encompass the prevention of the intentional removal (theft) of biological materials from research laboratories, this definition is narrower in scope than the definition used by many experts, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. These preventative measures are a combination of systems and practices put into its place at legitimate bioscience laboratories to prevent the use of dangerous pathogens and toxins for malicious use, as well as by customs agents and agricultural and natural resource managers to prevent the spread of these biological agents in natural and managed. Although security is usually thought of in terms of "Guards, Gates, and Guns", biosecurity encompasses much more than that and requires the cooperation of scientists, technicians, policy makers, security engineers, and law enforcement officials.

Biosecurity is defined as -

all the cumulative measures that can or should be taken to keep the diseases away (viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, parasites), from a farm and to prevent the transmission of diseases (by humans, insects, rodents, and wild birds/animals) among the inmates of the infected farm and from an infected farm to the neighboring farms.”

FAO uses the term, Biosecurity, in relation to sanitary, phytosanitary and zoosanitary measures applied in food and agricultural regulatory systems. FAO uses the term synonymously with “Biosecurity in food and agriculture”. Biosecurity is a relatively new concept and a term that is evolving as usage varies among countries with different specialist groups using it in different ways. For FAO, Biosecurity broadly describes the process and objective of managing biological risks associated with food and agriculture in a holistic manner.

 

            Many of the diseases are transmitted through contaminated food and water. In Kanpur zoological park, the water is pumped from deep bore wells, hence the contamination of water is a remote possibility. Thus the first step in the bio security forms the food bio security measures. Keeping this in view the store of the Kanpur zoo was found unfit to check the rodents and house flys. The store was renovated with the funds from Central Zoo Authority in the year 2008-09. With the financial assistance from the CZA the ceiling of the store was replaced and colour washing could be carried out. The store has three big halls, a toilet and another room. One of the halls is used for fresh fruits/vegetables stores in which the fruits and vegetables are weighed, cleaned with Potassium Permanganate solution, then cleaned with fresh water and sent to various enclosures for consumption. The entrance of these halls had wooden frame and doors. The floor had ceramic tiles. The weighing was done with the help of a simple balance. As only fresh vegetables and fruits are kept here for very small period hence there was not much problem of hygiene in this section.

The other hall in which the dry feed is stored has cemented floor and the doors and frames were made up of wooden frames. The feed mix was prepared on the floor and then stored in gunny bags. This hall attracted the rodents. The rodents even cut the wooden frame and enter the hall for the dry feed. Another problem was the venders and the staff entering in to the store without going through any self sanitization. These had every chance of spreading infections. Earlier the feed was transported in iron containers. These had every chance of getting corroded and leading to infections. Keeping these in view a series of initiatives were taken, which are listed below-

1.    More than six pairs of footwear were kept at the main entry gate to the store. The staff, the supervisors and the vendors were instructed to leave their foot wear outside the stores and wear the foot wear provided by the zoo.

2.    They were advised to sanitize themselves in the washroom attached with the stores (the wash room was a lavatory earlier, though it was not used for defecation, it was converted in to bathroom by closing the w.c).

3.    The staff who weigh the fresh stores were provided the aprons, so that the contact between the clothes and the fresh stores like fruits and vegetables is avoided.

4.    The wooden doors in fresh vegetable/fruit stores were replaced with iron doors with mosquito proof nets and wooden frames were replaced with angle iron frames. Similarly in the dry stores the wooden frames were replaced with angle iron frames and the doors were replaced with fully paneled iron doors and another pair of doors with only mosquito proof nets were fixed .This arrangement was done with a view to keep rats away when the stores is not in use. When the stores is in use for preparing the feed mix (feed mix is prepared in the zoo itself by purchasing various cereals and pulses and are ground and then are mixed in predetermined percentages by weight to prepare a balanced diet) fully paneled doors are kept open and the mosquito proof net doors are closed, so that free circulation of air is not inhibited and the flies and rodents are controlled.

5.    The dry ration stores had cemented floor and the feed mixture was prepared on the floor, this had every chance of contaminating the feed mix. Hence a raised platform of about 9 inches from the ground level was constructed and floor tiles were fixed on it. Now the feed is mixed on an elevated platform, hence the possibility of contamination has been minimized. Similarly floor tiles were laid in the entire hall and wall tiles were also fixed up to the height of 6 feet from the ground level, so that the hall remains damp proof.

6.    When the feed mix is prepared the ground cereals, pulses,the husk, the mineral mix and liver tonics are thouroughly mixed.The dust is raised when the feed mix is manually mixed.This may cause dust allergy to the staff.To overcome this face masks have been provided to the staff.

7.    An exhaust fan is fitted in the dry ration store to suck out the dust raised during mixing of the feed.

8.    A cement masonry rack was constructed on one side of the hall, to stack the feed mix prepared. This rack was also tiled. Some air space was left between the wall and the rack so that air circulation of the rack is not obstructed and moisture depositing on the joint of wall and the rack is done away with.

9.    Stainless steel containers were purchased to stock the feed in place of iron containers to eliminate the problem of corrosion.

10. An electronic balance is placed in the stores for taking the accurate weights of fresh stores so that predetermined weight of proper feed quantity is supplied for the consumption of animals.

11. The fresh stores such as vegetables and fruits were washed in iron containers kept on the floor. Presently two stainless steel wash basins have been fixed in fresh vegetable and fruit stores for washing with potassium permanganate solution and then subsequent cleaning with water.

12. Similarly a stainless steel wash basin has been provided in the meat house for proper washing of meat before serving.

13. The Vegetables and fruits after weighing and cleaning are transferred to heavy duty plastic containers. The plastic containers are regularly washed with proper detergents and once in a week in mild acid solutions. This would ensure germ free environment for the feed.

 

Thus the steps taken have helped in reducing the disease breaks and reduced expenditure on medical bill. Since the time these measures are initiated, the breeding of rare and endangered animals like tigers, leopards, and hyenas has gone up. The survival rate of the animals was also on the rise. In the year 2010 – 11 the mortality rate was 4% of the total animals. Thus we hope that the bio security measures adopted in the Stores helped in ex situ conservation measures of the zoological park.

References:

1.    Disaster management plan for Indian Zoos by R Hemanth Kumar, IFS

2.    Deliberations on Bio security of Food and Agriculture, of committee on Agriculture, FAO, seventeenth session held at Rome, from 13th March to 4th April, 2003.

 

 

Acknowledgments:

I take the opportunity to thank Mr.BK Patnaik, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife, U.P.Lucknow for constant encouragement. I thank Mr.BS Bonal, Member Secretary, Central Zoo Authority, and Dr.Brij Kishor Gupta, Evaluation and Monitoring Officer, Central Zoo Authority for timely indicating the lapses in the fresh stores and dry strores. I thank Mr.KK Jha, IFS, Chief Conservator of Forests, Ecodevelopment, U.P. Lucknow for thought provoking discussion on the subject matter.I thank Mr.Maneesh Mittal, IFS Dy Chief wildlife warden for encouragement. I thank the field staff Kanpur Zoological park for implementing the Biosecurity measures adopted in letter and spirit.

 
 
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