Squirrels, horses and swans: who takes care of animals in parks and how

May 2
Parks and pedestrian areas

The Moscow parks are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, so citizens are worried about animals and birds not getting enough food. Nevertheless, park keepers and volunteers keep on taking care of the animals.

'The staff of parks of the Moscow Department of Culture care much for park inhabitants and continue to help feed the animals even during the lockdown,' the Press Service of Mosgorpark Joint Directorate reported.

Caring for those who have been tamed

Animals kept in cages cannot do without people's help, so there are special people to take care of them. So, volunteers look after 12 horses in Izmailovsky Park's stables. The animals need three meals a day, walks and care. They get hay and oats in the morning and evening, and porridge with bran in the afternoon.

Employees of the Kuskovo Museum Estate take care of peacocks and guinea fowls. Staff of Babushkinsky Park fill feeders and clean squirrels’ and pheasants’ homes. In Lianozovsky Park, employees look after a pair of swans. In Khodynskoe Pole Park, they feed shelducks.

There are pheasants, geese, swans, peacocks and rabbits kept in enclosures in Gorky Park. The little Zoo's employees daily replenish their food and water supplies, do cleaning and veterinary examination, if needed.

Waterfowl in the parks feed on fresh fruit and vegetables, including apples, carrots, beets and cabbage. Other birds have mixtures of cereals with millet, corn and oats.

Also, there are more than 200 squirrels in the park regularly supplied with hazelnuts, walnuts and pine nuts.

Mosgorpark has provided assistance to the Fund for Support to the City Animals and helped organise the feeding of stray cats living in the parks. The project volunteers in charge can hand over animal food via the guards of Kuzminki, Fili and Izmailovsky parks.

All for the welfare of animals

Kuzminki-Lyublino Natural and Historical Park has goats and sheep, squirrels, chickens and pigeon varieties, as well as pheasants, geese and turkeys, currently kept in the winter nursery farm.

'Keeping animals in the enclosure complex is demanding. We need feeders (for dry food) and drinking bowls for poultry and small cattle, pallets for mineral feed and sand baths, plastic brooms, hard brooms, brushes and scrapers, scoops, rags and buckets of feed for birds and small cattle. Domestic animals need oats, barley, wheat, hay and straw, as well as mineral feed,' say the zoo keepers of Kuzminki-Lyublino Natural and Historical Park.

A contractor's employee feeds animals and birds and cleans enclosures once a day.

Spring diet for wild animals and birds

Unlike captive animals, feeding wild park inhabitants in the warm season may harm a lot, according to Mospriroda experts. In spring and summer, animals and birds are able to find food on their own, being included in the food chain of ecosystems of natural areas.

'Unreasonable feeding of wild animals is no good. It kills the natural instincts of animals and make them dependent. Animals stop searching for food on their own, with their self-preservation instinct almost gone. Their mass gathering leads to rapid spread of specific infections and diseases that kill them,' experts say.

It has an especially negative impact on birds that may choose a wrong territory for future nesting due to extra feeding. A place with food galore may seem suitable for nest building, but there may be not enough invertebrates for feeding offspring. To survive during the nursing period, chicks need a natural and diverse diet. Moreover, grown-up chicks must learn to find food on their own. Getting used to the food available in the feeder and not acquiring skills to look for it in the wild, such birds are likely to die in the future.

Feeding wild animals can lead to serious diseases or can make them dependent. So, foxes stop being cautious and wary of people.

'The gastrointestinal tract of many animals is not fit for digesting and assimilating the food people are used to. It may cause diseases in their population transmitted both to people and pets,' Mospriroda specialists warn.

Feeding animals is allowed only in winter in frosty weather with thick snow cover. Do not hand-feed animals, do not try to pet or catch them.

'Winter canteen': support to animals in cold weather

Feeding birds and animals in winter has already become a tradition for many Muscovites. There are fixed and temporary feeders and feeding grounds arranged specially for this purpose. But you need to bring proper food not to harm animals and birds.

Фото: mos.ru. Юлия Иванко

'Perching birds and woodpeckers need food with a high content of vegetable and animal fat: raw sunflower seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pine nuts, lard and visceral fat. Food must be raw and unprocessed, without salt or spices,' ornithologists say.

Besides, there is a campaign 'Well-Fed Hare' taking place in Moscow every winter. It is about feeding brown and white hares. So, dry hay, oats with some sliced carrots, apples and cabbage leaves are good for hares. Squirrels will be happy to have nuts and acorns.

Source: mos.ru

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