Panic prevailed at the zoo following the mysterious death of 13 spotted and one swamp deer on Saturday. There was neither any sign of injury nor could the post-mortem carried out by a team of expert vets reveal the cause of death.
Uttar Pradesh's chief wildlife conservator BK Patnaik who rushed to Kanpur to personally take stock of the situation, was at a loss to explain the probable cause of death.
Ruling out food poisoning, Patnaik said: "The same feed was consumed by 260 animals and none of the others displayed any adverse signs."
He added: "It was not as if all the victims were in a single cage; they were scattered in three different cages."
He was also quite convinced that each of the dead were "young and healthy animals".
While issuing a show-cause notice to zoo director KP Rao, the chief wildlife conservator has ordered suspension of seven other zoo officials for "neglect and dereliction of duty".
The viscera of the dead deer have been sent to the Bareilly-based Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) for further investigation.
Last year, when a similar tragedy had struck Kanpur zoo, leaving seven deer dead, it was the feed that was found to be the killer.