The National Zoological Park in Delhi has recorded the highest mortality — 171 animals — among all major zoos across the country in the past one year. It is also the highest death toll in the Delhi zoo in recent times.
Sources said the animals that died in the Delhi zoo in 2016-17, include mostly birds, deer and antelopes.
“At least 171 animals have died in the zoo in the past one year. This is probably the highest among all large zoos in the country. In most other large zoos the death toll on an average is less than 50 during the same period,” said an official of the Central Zoo Authority.
Zoos in India are categorised into large, medium, small and mini zoos — based on parameters such as area, animal population, collection of endangered species and number of visitors among others.
Delhi zoo along with a few other zoos such as the Nandankanan Zoological Park near Bhubaneshwar, Arignar Anna Zoological Park (Vandalur Zoo) near Chennai, Bannerghatta Biological Park near Bengaluru and Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden etc, is among the large zoos.
Alipore Zoo in Kolkata and Jaipur Zoo are medium zoos while AN Jha Deer Park in Hauz Khas area is a mini zoo.
“While more than 170 animals died in the Delhi zoo, the Vandalur Zoo recorded the second highest death toll in the country – 98. Around 68 animals died in the Bannerghatta Biological Park. In most other large zoos, which have till now compiled this year’s figures, the death toll is below 50,” said a CZA official.
Sources in the Delhi zoo said that this is also the highest death toll in the recent past.
- •2016-17: 171
- •2015-16: 82
- •2014-15: 59
- •2013-14: 87
- •2012-13: 55
- •2011-12: 67
- •2010-11: 108
“In 2015-16, the death toll in the zoo was 82. In 2014-15, 2013-14, 2012-13, 2011–12 and 2010-11 the death toll were 59, 87, 55, 67 and 108, respectively,” said a source in the Delhi zoo.
Sources revealed that most of the animals died during the 2016 summer and winter.
“While several chitals and black bucks had died in the summer because of a rabies outbreak and summer related complications, dozens of birds died in the winter because of bird flu. The zoo had to be shut down for nearly three months after the bird flu attack,” said a zoo official.
A zoo official claimed that the herbivores are particularly vulnerable as they are prone to diseases such as pneumonia when the temperature fluctuates. In the summer when there is rain and the temperature drops drastically, deer and antelopes often catch cold and suffer from pneumonia.
“We lost around 29 black bucks, five albino black bucks, 12 deer hogs and 62 chital (spotted deer) in just one year,” said the zoo official.
This time, however, the zoo is not taking any chances and has already started their summer management plan. Animals have been provided with air coolers, water sprinklers and lawn nets. Their diets have also been changed or reduced,” said an official.
- •National Zoological Park, Delhi: 171
- •Vandalur Zoo, Chennai: – 98.
- •Bannerghatta Biological Park, Bengaluru: 66
- •Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden: 21
- •Nandankanan Zoological Park: 49
- •Indira Gandhi Zoological Park, Vishakhapatnam: 28