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A deer family: Rejected by mother, Sambar fawn finds foster parents in Delhi zoo

In a rare event, a Sambar fawn is being hand raised by Delhi zookeepers. It is more than a month-old now and zoo officials are waiting for the day when the fawn will be reunited with its herd

delhi Updated: Aug 17, 2017 17:29 IST
Joydeep Thakur
Joydeep Thakur
Hindustan Times
Delhi zoo,Sambar fawn at Delhi zoo,Mother rejects sambar fawn at Delhi zoo
Delhi zoo officials say the mother Sambar abandoned the fawn as it was weak and had little chances of survival. (Ajay Aggarwal/HT Photo)

In a rare event, a Sambar fawn, which was rejected by its mother soon after birth in the Delhi zoo, is being hand raised by zookeepers. It is more than a month old now and zoo officials are waiting for the day when the fawn would be reunited with its herd.

Had it been in the wild, a fawn rejected by its own mother would have had no chances of survival.

“The fawn was rejected by its mother as it was very weak and had little chances of survival. The mother refused to suckle the new born and the fawn was losing its battle for survival. It was then that we decided to bring it to the zoo hospital and hand-raise it. It is a rare event,” said Renu Singh director of the National Zoological Park in New Delhi.

While the fawn is kept inside the Delhi Zoo where visitors are restricted, it is released in the adjacent lawn every morning to play. After sunset the fawn is again taken back to the zoo hospital.

“We never leave it alone. At least one of us is always with the fawn when it is playing in the lawn. Usually when it is too hot or raining we don’t release it. Its health is being monitored round the clock every day,” said Singh.

The fawn was being fed with formula milk at least four times a day over the past one month. But now that it is growing, zoo vets have introduced mash – a mixture prepared with grounded gram, jowar, maize, milk among others – in its diet over the past few days. Of late, it is also easting leaves and grass.

“Just like a mother before feeding a baby with formula milk from a feeding bottle tests the milk to find out whether it is too hot for the baby we also pour a few drops on the back of our palm to test it. It has a strict diet which is prepared and monitored by the vet,” said Bhupen, the zoo ranger.

Initially, it had to be given a regular dose of calcium tonic and antibiotic as it was too weak and was suffering from diarrhoea. But now it is doing fine, the keepers said.

“Usually we don’t name animals which remain in herds. But we would definitely like to name this one as we have hand raised it,” said Singh.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 09:47 IST