2 tigers still critically ill at Bannerghatta park

2 tigers still critically ill at Bannerghatta park

Bacterial infection killed a tigress; others died of old age

2 tigers still critically ill at Bannerghatta park

A 11-year-old white tiger Arya and four-year-old Minchu (who also happens to be the deceased tigress Divya's sister), have shown no improvement after suffering from severe bout of diarrhoea following Salmonella infection after eating infected meat.

This has forced veterinary doctors to change the course of antibiotics on Friday. Since the time they fell ill, both the tigers have not eaten anything. 

Apart from Arya and Minchu, rest of the tigers Anu (6) and Inchara (4) - mother and another sister of Divya -, Razia (10), Sindhu (2), Rocky (12), three white tigers, Surya (3), Vinay and Shreyas and one Bengal tiger Amar (3), are recovering.

M N Jayakumar, IFS officer and Member-Secretary of Zoo Authority of Karnataka, said eight tigers were unwell. But 41 tigers, which are in the safari area have no health problems. There are 22 lions and none have health complications although they were fed with chicken supplied by a particular contractor for Shivajinagar.

On the affected tigers, he said, e.coli and Salmonella bacteria present in chicken the culprits, according to vet experts.

Feeding of chicken was stopped as per the vets’ instruction. Very expensive antibiotics (one gm - Rs 2,600) is being administered to the affected tigers. The problem of diarrhoea in the tigers were noticed in August-end. Despite medication, the problem continued, he said. 

The Park buys over 1000 kg of beef and chicken and one of the animals could have been infected, felt Dr Chittiappa, veterinary doctor, BBP.

Authorities added that many tigers were agitated and did not eat due to media activity at the park on Thursday. Hence, the officials have appealed to media not to enter the tiger enclosure.  In fact one of the workers said that Divya's death is a black mark on BBP and the Park's staff will have to really work hard to save and protect the other animals. 

There are 260 daily wage workers in BBP who work round the clock in guarding animals. Krishna Kumar, deputy director at BBP clarified that only one tigress Minchu died of bacterial infection and others died due to old age.

 "We have many animals both tigers and lions which have lived beyond their biological ages.  The lions which died were already suffering from different ailments and they did not die due to infection," he said.

Meat, the culprit

The blood samples of nine tigers sent by BBP to the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinarian Biologicals (IVHVB) on Thursday reported salmonella bacteria for few samples, few samples had E Coli and in the rest had both bacteria in them.

"The diagnosis has been done and treatment has started accordingly," said Dr C Renukaprasad, director, IVHVB.

He said the liver and intestine samples of Divya have been collected to conduct histopathology tests on them. 

"It will take 8-10 days after which we will compare test results with the findings of the blood samples of live tigers. Salmonella is a deadly bacterium, which endotoxins different organs in the body damaging kidney and intestines. Divya died due to the same reason," he said. 

Meanwhile, the state forest department has sent a two-page report to the member secretary of Central Zoo Authority. The report stated that the four deaths had occurred including Divya's.

On examination, eight tigers were found having infection and two were serious.
The Park authorities have stopped buying chicken and eggs, supplied every week, as the meat are believed to be the source of infection.

The report also said that while three animals in the rescue centre died due to old age, the death of the tigress in safari was more worrisome.

According to a meeting at veterinary college, a review of the situation was done and future of course of action for such incidents was discussed, a source said. 

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