A `roaring’ fifth birthday party at zoo

Visakhapartnam, India :On Wednesday morning, the place was decorated with flowers and balloons. Hundreds of guests arrived including some dignitaries in cars. Invitations were despatched to the guests the previous day through calls and texts. Cake cutting followed soon along with singing of the `Happy Birthday song’. One of the birthday babies stepped out of his shelter to glance at the guests and pose for the shutterbugs.

For the first time, the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) had hosted such a birthday party .Wondering who the birthday babies are? They are triplets Vijay , Sony and Bethany , five-year-old white tigers, who were born in the zoo on March 16, 2011. While Vijay wandered around in front of the guests occasionally looking and posing for them, his sisters were a bit shy to come out.

Several school students wearing tiger masks, NGOs and volunteers from Zoo Brigade and Fishing Cats Conservation Society , animal lovers, zoologists and IGZP staff were present in front of the white tiger enclosure, which was colourfully decorated with boards announcing their birthday . Everyone enthusiastically participated in the celebrations.

P Sailaja, a chartered accountant, who came with her family , said, “I love this unique birthday concept and I love animals. I want my children to know more about the zoo and animals. I am happy to bring them here to be a part of the birthday party .“

Zoology professor from Andhra University C Manjulatha said, “I came because I felt curious about the interesting invite that I had received.“ Prerna S Madan, a Class VIII student at Sri Prakash Vidyaniketan, made a portrait of the white tigers and also donated her pocket money of Rs 1,000 for animal welfare. “I love the zoo and in future I would like to adopt some animals,“ she said.

On this occasion, several visitors and zoo staff generously donated for the cause of animals and adopted some too. Apart from donation of Rs 1.9 lakh by NRI Vidya Sagar for the white tiger Shirish (the triplets’ father) for 2015-16, zoo curator B Vijaya Kumar and zoo doctor V Srinivas donated Rs 10,000 each, while assistant cura tor Ali Mashady gave Rs 5,000. The white tigers’ keeper (retired) Y Appanna was also felicitated on the occasion.

According to the zoo authorities, IGZP is a pioneer in breeding white tigers in captivity and the zoo-born brood are instrumental in exchange of animals interna tionally and within the country .

“In future, we would celebrate more such birthdays of animals born in Vizag zoo. We are also planning a naming ceremony for the new-born inmates here. Before the summer, the zebra from Taiwan and chimpanzee from Israel too would be in,“ averred curator Vija ya Kumar.

-from Times of India

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