Bengal tiger Bittu breathes his last at Delhi zoo; new tigress arrives from Kanpur
Zoo officials said Bittu was not keeping well for the past few months and died at 9.25am Thursday. Delhi zoo director Ramesh Pandey said Bittu was brought from Van Vihar Zoo, Bhopal, in 2014 and had completed his average life span of 15 years.Updated: Nov 20, 2020, 07:17 IST
B-2 (Bittu), a 15-year-old male Royal Bengal tiger at the Delhi zoo, who was suffering from acute chronic kidney disorder (CKD), breathed his last Thursday morning, even as the zoo welcomed a Bengal tigress from Kanpur, under an exchange programme, earlier this week.
Zoo officials said Bittu was not keeping well for the past few months and died at 9.25am Thursday. Delhi zoo director Ramesh Pandey said Bittu was brought from Van Vihar Zoo, Bhopal, in 2014 and had completed his average life span of 15 years.
“The best possible treatment was being given to him in consultation with experts from Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly. The animal was under intensive care for more than 20 days. The post-mortem will be conducted by a panel of veterinary doctors and the viscera will be sent to lVRI for histopathological and other examinations to ascertain the cause of death,” said Pandey.
With Bittu’s death, the zoo is now left with just one male Bengal tiger, Karan. The Delhi zoo had three Bengal tigers until a year ago. One of them, eight-year-old Rama died of kidney failure in September last year. Besides the Bengal tiger, the zoo also has six white tigers.
Meanwhile, the zoo got a Bengal tigress, the first one in six years, from the Kanpur zoo for conservation breeding under an animal exchange programme. However, no animal was given in exchange for the tigress, said officials.
“The tigress, Barkha, is six years old. She will form a pair with Karan, who is also aged around six. The zoo did not have a female tiger for a long time. She was brought to Delhi zoo just this week,” said Pandey.
Conservation breeding is done mainly for critically endangered species. The Delhi zoo is one of the participating zoos for the breeding programme for five species --- Bengal tiger, Asiatic lion, rhinos, thamin (also known as Sangai deer) and red jungle fowl.
“Our focus is to take conservation breeding forward. It is the science of conserving a species by preventing imminent population collapse in the wild due to a large number of eliminative pressures such as habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, industrialisation, poaching, illegal trade and climate change, among others. The Delhi zoo has a history of participating in the conservation programmes of different species,” said Pandey.
Besides, he said the zoo has proposed different exchange programmes to increase the number of species from the existing 88 to 100. The total animal population at the zoo is 1,100.
Recently, it had acquired five species under an exchange programme with Chandigarh’s Chhatbir Zoo. These included wild boar, black and grey partridge, golden pheasant, Eurasian dove and jungle cat.
“In the second phase of the exchange programme with Chandigarh zoo, we plan to get a pair each of ostriches and chinkaras while we will give them a bison and a white buck. The last chinkara at the Delhi zoo died in June last year,” said Pandey.
In another exchange programme, the zoo has proposed getting a male rhino from Patna. The rhino was given to Patna zoo by Delhi in 2014. The Delhi zoo doesn’t have a male rhino since the past six years while it has two female rhinos. “At the same time, we have proposed exchanging one of our female rhinos with a female rhino from Guwahati zoo. It is called a bloodline exchange and is good for breeding. However, the proposal is yet to be approved by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA),” he said.
He added that another exchange is likely to take place by November-end with Jaipur zoo. Delhi will exchange a pair of hog deer for a pair of striped hyenas, Pandey said.