D Madhavan – The Times of India
CHENNAI: An aviary has come up at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park (AAZP) in Vandalur. The brainchild of the zoo director, P L Ananthasamy, also the chief conservator of forests, the project titled Walk through an aviary’ was designed and developed over a period of six months by a team of zoo officials and botanists led by Ananthasamy.
The birds are grouped into three catogories – lower, middle and upper nesting varieties – and include parrots, cuckoos, pigeons, cocktails, bullbulls and woodpeckers. “The objective is to bring man and nature closer and help visitors learn more about birds in their natural surroundings,” Ananthasamy told TOI on Friday.
An aviary is a large enclosure for keeping birds in. Unlike cages, aviaries allow birds a larger living space where they can fly. The area has plants and trees to simulate a natural environment.
Estimated to cost around Rs 20 lakh (shared by the Central and state governments), the aviary in Vandalur covers an area of more than a acre. Unlike the one at Karanji Lake in the Mysore zoo, one of the largest free-flight aviaries in the country that is home to thousands of bird species, the aviary here has only a few dozen bird species. The idea is is also to access how the birds will adapt to the new environment.
Covered by a large steel net, the aviary allows sufficient sunlight and fresh air. It has lawns
and fountains to double up as water sources for the birds. Except the tiled footpath, the aviary floor has Korean grass. The variety of plants were selected based certain requirements in an aviary, such as maintenance of the humidity levels, for instance. There are a large of number of butterflies and insects as well.
“A lot of thinking has gone into the making of the aviary. A combination of practical experience and learning from all of us has made it possible. It’s a team effort,” Ananthasamy stresses.