Bannerghatta deaths: Govt in damage-control mode

Four animals -- two lions and two tigers -- have died and many animals have fallen sick in the last one week.

A tigress, Divya (4), died of diarrhoea, while reason behind the death of three other animals (one tiger and two lions) is said to be old age. We are taking appropriate steps to prevent spread of any infection... Infection may be due to water contamination or stale food, Home Minister V S Acharya told reporters after holding a high-level meeting with the Forest Department officials.

Divyas mother and two siblings with whom she was lodged in the cage, have also developed diarrhoea. Steps are being taken to provide clean water, hygienic food and proper medical facilities to all animals in the Park. The Park officials are working with experts from Veterinary College in this regard, he said.

Acharya said 16 animals have died in the park in the last 10 months, including five tigers and five lions. The mortality rate is around four per cent. There are total 1,300 animals, both carnivorous and herbivorous, at the Bannerghatta National Park. Nearly 1,300 kg of meat, mostly beef, is supplied to the Park for feeding animals every day. Meat is provided only after testing its quality. The main source of drinking water for animals is borewells, he added. When asked about the poor state of Kavalkere lake near the Park, the minister said the lake is located outside the jurisdiction of the Park and the Park animals are not provided with water from this lake.

Officials at all Zoological Gardens have been directed to focus on hygiene, he added.

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