The death of 12 spotted deer in three months at the Delhi zoo has triggered a scare among animal rights groups.
The zoo officials, however, said this was not an epidemic and that necessary action was taken after the death of the first batch of deer in February.
“Four deer succumbed to infections in February after the enclosure was flooded. We immediately moved the deer to a separate space, but in two weeks, four deer died due to infection. Though the cause of their death is yet to be ascertained, we suspect it to be rabies,” said a senior zoo official.
The authorities suspect the infection was caused by the bite of either a rat or a mongoose.
“The deer are kept in an open enclosure so there is a huge possibility that some rodent might have burrowed into the enclosure and bit one deer. Then it spread to the others,” he said.
The zoo director, Amitabh Agnihotri, confirmed they had 120 spotted deer and the vaccination process had been initiated for all the animals. At present, around 10 more spotted deer are under observation and are yet to be out in the enclosure with the rest of the herd.
Preventive shots are being given to the entire herd.
Reports claim the situation went out of hand because of negligence on the part of the zoo administration. Sources in the zoo refuted the allegations and said a report on the condition of the animals was submitted on time to the ministry of environment and forests.
“These are not our personal pets. When a new animal is brought to the zoo or when an animal dies, a detailed report is submitted to the higher authorities and the course of their medication is also submitted,” said a senior official seeking anonymity.