Shock, snake bite, cannibalism behind deaths in National Zoological Park


Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Over the last three years, different animals have succumbed at the National Zoological Park owing to multiple reasons. The most common ones are shock, enteritis and respiratory failure. There are also unusual reasons such as ‘snake bite’, ‘eaten by mother’, ‘predation’ and ‘putrefied carcass’ among others.

In an RTI reply by the Delhi Zoo to activist Vivek Pandey, the administration has listed several factors that lead to the death of around 450 animals in the past three years from 2018 to 2020. Amongst the causes of death, the reply reveals that ‘shocks’ including ‘traumatic, biological, nervous, cardiogenic, stuck of dead foetus, septic and hernia’ have been the major factors.

Enteritis is caused by parasites, bacteria, viruses or allergies that can inflame the small intestines. An obstruction in the digestive tract can also trigger this. Senility or age factor is another reason for deaths, along with animals dying due to respiratory and other organ failures. In the past three years, six animals died where the suspected cause is predation. Two deaths were marked against putrefied carcasses.

Attempts to reach the director of Delhi Zoo, Ramesh Pandey, for comments on the death figures of animals and reasons proved futile as there was no response from his side. “Delhi zoo is a graveyard for wild animals. Animals from other zoos are brought in to maintain the count. If the yearly death counts are above 100, then it’s an abnormal sign. The root cause for deaths are not addressed, neither by the zoo nor by the ministry. Delhi Zoo has no neutral unbiased body to scan or scrutinise.

Animals have different requirements and different experts are needed,” said Dr DN Singh, former member secretary of the Central Zoo Authority. Currently, the Central Zoo Authority is the statutory body of the government of India which is responsible for the  supervision of zoos across the country.

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