In the Foresters partner channel of the Slow App, listen to the story of zookeeper Rajesh Kumar, who works at the National Zoological Park, Delhi, and his bond with the animals under his care
“The animals can’t talk and we are their voices,” declares Rajesh Kumar.
As children, we have all visited zoos. Some of us might have been fascinated by them, some might have been disinterested and some might have plain hated them. But, everyone loved the zookeepers.
There was a certain wonder as to how the zookeepers got the animals to listen to them, as to how they were brave enough to enter the enclosures. Were they friends with the animals? How do they see the animals under their care? Questions abounded.
Here’s a chance to listen first-hand to a zookeeper in the Slow App’s Foresters partner channel. Meet Rajesh Kumar, who works at the National Zoological Park, Delhi, spread across 71 hectares. Kumar speaks about his bond with the animals under his care.
The nearly four-minute short begins with a sun-dappled greenspace where the light plays hide and seek, and shots of birds in flight, peacocks, mammals, gaur and the big cats that make the Delhi zoo what it is.
“The animals can’t talk and we are their voices,” declares Kumar. “My entire life revolves around them. We have to look after them, take care of their food and shelter, and hygiene in the enclosure. We work with dedication and honesty. In the morning, I visit every enclosure and ensure there is no object that can disturb the animal,” says Kumar, even as he picks up a piece of bark from the water tank.
Why do we need a zoo? “Animals live longer here. We get their medical check-up done at regular intervals, we feed them on time. We put them on different diets depending on what time of the year it is,” says Kumar, pointing to a tiger.
“In the summer, we give it ten kilos of meat, in the winter it is twelve kilos. In the summers, they get sprinklers and everything else needed to keep them protected from the searing heat. In the winter, they are kept safe from the bitter cold,” adds the zookeeper.
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Understanding an animal’s behaviour is a big part of Kumar’s work. The short film features snapshots of a turtle in the water, pelicans in flight and ready to take off. “They are all like our babies. We spend our entire day with them. I consider it my blessing that I have got the chance to look after them. However much we do for them, it is still less than what they deserve,” concludes Kumar.
The show, produced by Slow Content, has camera and production by Abhishek Verma and Mohammed Salman, editing by P Madhu Kumar and graphics by Kartikeya.