City zoo installs CCTV cameras for monitoring animal behaviour

New Delhi: The Delhi zoo has started installing CCTV cameras on its premises, including in the animal enclosures, for a round-the-clock monitoring of animal behaviour and to prevent the visitors from violating rules.

Around 230 CCTV cameras will be installed in the first phase. The number may go up, a zoo official said.

He said a server room has been set up and the work of installing hubs and laying wires is going on.

According to zoo Director Ramesh Pandey, the CCTV cameras will be used to monitor animal behaviour round the clock and sort out issues, if any, immediately.

Apart from a separate CCTV monitoring room, the official said, monitors have also been installed in the offices of the zoo director and other officials. "So, there will be many eyes on the screens," he said.

The CCTV cameras will help the staff ascertain if an animal is eating properly, if it is unwell or displaying abnormal behaviour, the official said, adding that it is a scientific way of approaching animal healthcare-related problems.

Earlier, the zoo staff used a "standby" camera if the situation demanded it. Mostly, it was used to monitor carnivorous animals showing abnormal behaviour or ascertain if an animal was ill.

The CCTV cameras will also prevent the visitors from flouting rules, the official said.

Many a time, the visitors attempt to irritate the animals, give them food or throw pebbles at them. On a few occasions, people tried jumping into the enclosures of carnivorous animals, the official said.

"Though a guard is deployed at every enclosure, the CCTV cameras will make the premises more secure," he added.

The zoo also plans to introduce virtual reality technology, allowing the visitors to "get closer" to the animals, and a GPS-based mobile application to make zoo visits more engaging and informative.

Virtual reality headsets will allow the visitors to see the animals up close. People will find themselves "standing next to a tiger, hugging a deer or caressing an elephant", according to officials. Top zoos around the world have turned to technology to make visitors' experience better.

The government wants the Delhi zoo to be among the top 10 across the world. Virtual reality and the mobile application are steps in that direction, the officials said.

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