A spate of spotted deer deaths in Delhi zoo (National Zoological Park, Delhi) have left it at odds with Central Zoo Authority (CZA) over the numbers.
Delhi zoo authorities said Wednesday 16 spotted deers had died since February. A three-member CZA team, which conducted an inspection of the zoo Tuesday, however, found 39 deer deaths since February.
“Reports (on the number of deaths) are sent to CZA on a quarterly basis. Only 16 deaths have taken place since February; 39 deaths is a huge number. We do not know where these numbers have come from. According to our records, 13 spotted deers that died prima facie tested positive for rabies. The reason for the death of three other deer is yet to ascertained,” said Riaz Khan, chief curator, Delhi zoo.
CZA member secretary D N Singh, however, said, “Our three-member team felt that there was a discrepancy in the figures that different officers were giving us. When we cross-checked records, we found 39 deer have died since February – 15 male, 18 female and 6 infants or what we call ungendered. Further, the mechanism by which records of this kind are maintained at the Delhi zoo is very poor and the authorities have a very casual attitude.”
Delhi zoo insiders questioned the “method” adopted by the CZA for arriving at the number of deaths and said stillbirths and fatalities during the breeding process “cannot” be included. However, CZA officials said “handwritten” records maintained by veterinary officers revealed only six infants died during this period.
The CZA also blamed Delhi zoo for not holding health advisory committee meetings since the last two years and recommended it do so.