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A 41-year-old pelican and other animals wait for their food at Nepal's only zoo

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — At the stroke of 10 every morning at the only zoo in Nepal, a 41-year-old pelican arrives at the entrance of the animal kitchen, waiting patiently for program officer Ganesh Koirala to arrive. The pelican knows that with Koirala will come breakfast — a one-kilogram (2-pound) fish.

Inside the busy kitchen, zookeepers wash vegetables and cut meat and fish for the zoo's residents.

The Central Zoo in Kathmandu is home to more than 1,100 animals and 114 species, including Bengal tigers, snow leopards, red pandas, one-horned rhinos and Asian elephants.

More than 15 of 38 local endangered species reside in the zoo, which welcomes around 1 million visitors per year.

The zoo originated in 1932 as the private collection of a ruler, but now is managed by a government trust and is open to the public.

“When I am on my day off, I cannot stop thinking whether the animals got their food on time. They are like small babies,” said Rojina Shrestha, a zookeeper for over a decade.

Some of the animals were brought to the zoo with injuries, were orphaned, or were causing a nuisance to communities, Koirala said. But space is limited to accommodate them in the 6-hectare (15-acre) site.

Authorities hope to move the zoo to a different location outside the capital, but government resources are limited.