Alipore: The kangaroo enclosure at Alipore zoo will have a glass wall erected in front of it to shield the marsupials from the din of the crowd. The authorities are concerned about the well-being of the kangaroo quartet because of their experience with marsupials. Four red kangaroos brought from the Czech Republic in 2011 died within a year. Joey, a female born to one of them, died in October 2015.
The glass wall – like the ones at the enclosures housing tigers, jaguars and leopards – will also prevent viewers from throwing food at the four eastern grey kangaroos.
Three glass panels, each 8ft high, will be erected on a concrete beam in front of the enclosure. On top of the wall, there will be a shade that will serve as an obstacle for food or any other items being thrown from outside.
Winter is the peak time for the zoo, which recorded a footfall of 9.24 lakh in December and has been visited by over 9.27 lakh people in January so far. On New Year’s Day, more than 1.10 lakh people had visited the zoo. The count crossed 90,000 on Christmas and December 31.
No animal feels comfortable being surrounded with so many people. “Kangaroos are extremely shy and suffer from a high degree of stress when confronted with such a large crowd,” Samanta said.
“Whenever there are too many people outside the enclosure, the arsupials prefer staying indoors. At times they do step out to munch on the grass but retreat after stealing a glance or two at the crowd.”
The eastern grey kangaroos have been one of the top attractions in the zoo since the enclosure was opened for visitors on December 16. They arrived in the city from a zoo in Japan’s Yokohama on October 26 and were kept under observation for more than a month before being shifted to the enclosure.
Another problem the authorities are struggling to deal with is food – including jhal muri – being thrown into the enclosure by visitors. Posters pasted outside announce the ban on feeding the animals.