Delhi zoo loses its last chinkara

Pictorial representation. Photo credit: Reuters

The last chinkara of the National Zoological Park, commonly known as the Delhi zoo, has died, an official said on Wednesday.

The male chinkara had grown very old and weak. It died on June 14, days after authorities conducted a census of animals in the zoo.

"We do not have a system of marking herbivores. So ascertaining his exact age is a bit difficult," the official said.

"Chinkaras generally remain in a group. Till a year ago, we had four of them. They died one after another due to various reasons, including old age," the official said.

Delhi zoo director Renu Singh said she would write to other zoos to acquire chinkaras under an animal exchange programme.

The last plum-headed parrot in the zoo has also died. It aged above 20 years, the official said, adding parakeets can live up to 30 years with proper care.

"It was part of the last pair of parakeets we had. One of them was eaten by a snake," he said.

The zoo also lost its last cassowary — a native of Australia and New Guinea and the "world's most dangerous" bird — recently.

It was the only cassowary in the Delhi zoo for 20 years. "There are only four-five such birds in zoos across the entire country," an official had said.

It is the second-heaviest bird in the world after the ostrich. On average, the cassowary weighs around 60 kg and is 1.5-1.8 metres tall. 

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