The zoo is a favourite place of visit for most children. But how would you behave in the zoo? Do you know that the animals can get irritated with your behaviour?
How many times have you gone to the zoo and gazed in wonder at the wildlife housed there? You would have also thought over why some people take liberties with the animals, disturbing their peace. In its attempt to make zoo trips more informative for students and easier for the inmates, the Coimbatore Corporation Zoological Park along with the Centre for environmental Education (CEE) and the Zoo Outreach Organisation (ZOO) has been conducting regular programmes for teachers on how to disseminate information on wildlife to children. So far about 50-60 teachers from the corporation schools in the city have benefited from this coaching. In turn they pass on what they learn to their wards. After appoint of time some students are chosen as resource persons. Says Dr N.S Manoharan, Veterinary Officer and Zoo director, Coimbatore Corporation: " There is a perceptible difference in the behaviour of children who have been exposed to such programmes. They know how to conduct themselves in zoos." All it takes to teach them is a rope .It is used to explain the relation between animals.
We provide information about the eco-conservation and other issues through games and plays. That way the children receive information better and retain it, he adds.
He says that people can at times be cruel to animals without actually meaning to. For example, they might sneak in foodstuff and feed an animal and sometimes this would not agree with the animal. Like, when visiting the snake enclosures visitors tap on the glass walls. Since snakes cannot hear they respond to the movement and strike the glass, hurting their mouths. "For people, it stops with tapping, they fail to understand the harm they cause the reptiles," he rues. When it comes to our feathered friends, children incite them without meaning to. When they press their faces close to the wire mesh of an aviary, they are putting themselves as well as the birds in danger. For the birds the human eyeballs look like beetles, their favourite food. The rest of the face is a blur. When they charge at you thinking you represent food, you get hurt. Not only that, their beaks are also prone to getting stuck in the wire meshes."
Dr.Manoharan also wants children to adopt a more human attitude when it comes to wild animals. You won't like to be disturbed when you are sleeping right? Many people, even adults, don't know that animals like to take rest during the peak hours of the day between 11a.m. and 4 p.m.. When people come to the zoo then, they want to see the animals in action. So they get noisy to disturb the animals.
The educational programmes also seem to have helped children understand the role they have to play. Recently, when an adult tried to tease a lion in the enclosure an eager young lad who was aware of zoo behaviour stopped him, tried to educate him and also lodged a complaint with the authorities.
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