The death of two tigresses named ‘Mohini’ and ‘Elaichi’ in Ludhiana Zoo in October 2013 had kicked of f a controversy over the cause behind the death of two big cats within 48 hours. While sources had alleged that bad meat served to the tigresses was the reason behind t hei r deat h, t he z oo authorities maintained that they died due to old age.
However, after the death of the tigresses, two tigers in the zoo ‘Mani’ and ‘Deepak’ were at the receiving end as they lost their partners, whose company, according to the experts, is essential for the physical as well as the psychological health of the animals.
As per the guidelines of Central Zoo Authority of India, animals must be kept in congenial pairs in the zoos whereas the tigers in ‘Ludhiana Tiger Safari’ have been living without female companions for the past eight months.
On the other hand, a bear couple, named ‘Kala’ and ‘Kanta’, are an attraction for the visitors to the zoo even in the hot summer days. Their playful pranks provide entertainment to the visitors.
Sometimes ‘Kala’ and ‘Kanta’ sit together on the ice and the next moment, one of them sits leisurely on the ice while the other even starts eating up the ice.
Besides coolers that have been installed for both these animals, large chunks of ice are regularly placed in their cages. This gives them respite from the strong heat wave which has engulfed the region these days.
Experts feel that it is imperative to provide a conducive environment for animals in the zoos.
Dr Sandeep Jain, a member of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), expressed disappointment over the makeshift arrangement under which the management of the Ludhiana Zoo was taken away from Chhatbir Zoo authorities and handed over to the divisional forest office, Ludhiana.
“A few years ago, there were 11 tigers in Ludhiana Tig er Safari, as the tigers were breeding which was reflective of their good health. Also, wild animals are different from domestic animals in many ways and they require specialised veterinary services, which a nor mal veterinarian cannot provide,” Dr Sandeep added.
Divisional forest officer (DFO) DS Brar, responsible for managing the affairs at the Ludhiana Zoo, stated that he and his team were very sensitive towards the animals. On being asked about the cause of death of the two tigresses and delay in getting new female animals, he said, “Both the tigresses had died due to old age. We are regularly making efforts to get new tigresses in the zoo.”
The Ludhiana Zoo also has animals like black buck, blue bulls, barking deer, jackals, emu and porcupine, in addition to the exotic birds like ducks, parrots, silver pigeons and silver dove.