A four-year-old male Indian rhinoceros, listed as an endangered species, was found dead in its enclosure at the National Zoological Park on Saturday.
The zoo administration, however, has not yet ascertained the reason behind the rhino's death. Indian Rhinoceros is listed under the schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and appendix I of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The death of Junior Raja, as the zookeepers fondly called the mammal from the Rhinocerotidae family, now leaves only two female rhinos at the park -- popularly known as Delhi zoo.
The deceased rhino was neither ill nor had any injury. "There was no report of any sickness. In fact, last evening, it had normal food intake. (But) It was found dead this morning," said Riaz Khan, zoo's curator (education). A panel of veterinarians would conduct a post-mortem on Sunday at the zoo itself. The panel comprises two vets from outside the Delhi zoo and two internal experts.
Some good news too
Saturday also saw a much-awaited exchange at the zoo wherein a female white tiger was sent away to Jaipur zoo, which in turn, sent an adult pair of wolves to the national Capital.
The Delhi zoo did not have any wolves. The white tigress, Geeta, was born and bred in Delhi zoo itself. After Geeta's departure, the number of white tigers at the zoo is reduced to six, including two males.
Out of a total nine big cats in 2011, one white tigress was sent to Gwalior and Chandigarh zoo each earlier in March.