Delhi zoo transfers herbivores to nearby facilities

Delhi zoo transfers herbivores to nearby facilities

Blackbucks. (DH Photo)

The Delhi zoo has initiated the process of transferring surplus herbivores such as blackbuck and spotted dear to nearby facilities through exchange programmes in a bid to bring down the number of animal deaths, an official said on Tuesday.

According to a recent census, 245 animals died in the zoo in over 14 months -- from April 2018 to June 2019. It prompted the zoo authorities to order an assessment of the deaths.

"The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has permitted the zoo to shift surplus herbivores, including blackbuck, spotted deer, nilgai, and sambhar, to the nearby zoos. This will help reduce the number of animal deaths to a great extent," the official said.

"One of the major reasons for the higher number of animal deaths in the zoo is infighting and premature births. According to CZA guidelines, a large zoo should keep 20 animals of a particular species, whereas we have around 250 blackbucks, 150 spotted deer, 60 sambhar deer and 40 nilgai," he said.

The staff keep the animals segregated but that is not a permanent solution to prevent deaths due to infighting, he said.

The CZA has allowed the Delhi zoo to "shift" 120 blackbucks, for now, the official said.

Another reason for such high animal mortality is that the veterinary officer is "incompetent", the official alleged, adding that though Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo had recommended suspension of the officer, no action has been taken yet.

A high-level committee probing allegations of mismanagement at the zoo had earlier recommended disciplinary action against the veterinary officer.

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