Five tiger cubs die in Odisha zoo

The Odisha zoo, one of the important zoological parks in the country, is famous for tigers, particularly the white tigers, acknowledged as the rarest of the rare species.

The five tiger cubs, born to tigress Priyanka inside the zoo last Wednesday, were found dead on Friday morning. The exact cause of their demise is not yet known though zoo official describe the incident as “nothing unusual”.

The five tiger cubs died just a day after the death of a full grown 18 year old tigress-Tanuja- in the zoo’s intensive care unit (ICU). The tigress had succumbed to her injuries on Thursday. She had sustained injuries on her neck and tongue during a fierce battle with her male partner, Kishan.

The death of five tiger cubs and a tigress within a short span of just 24 hours has already made animal lovers and experts worried and forced them to question the safety of the big cats inside the  zoo.

“The zoo is not having trained doctors to manage tigers. The total zoo management in Nandankanan needs to be changed,” said Biswajit Mohanty, animal rights activist and secretary of non-governmental, Wildlife Society of Odisha.

Activists have also charged the Nandankanan authorities with going for tiger breeding in captivity though the zoo is not having enough space for the big cats. Importantly, it was the Odisha zoo which had grabbed the national headlines in 2000 following mysterious death of more than half a dozen big cats, including a few white varieties on a single day.

“After the 2000 incident, the Nandankanan authorities had been advised not to go for in house breeding of tigers. However, they have not heeded the advise,” said Mohanty.

On Friday’s incident, the zoo authorities said that the five newly born cubs were the first children of Priyanka and therefore did not survive. “When a tigress gives birth for the first time, usually the cubs do not survive. All of them were unwell right from the time of their birth,” said a zoo official, who did not want to be quoted.

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