Chinkara dies after still birth in Delhi zoo, vet alleges he wasn’t allowed to help

The chief vet of Delhi zoo, Abhijit Bhawal, who lives in the staff quarters located on the premises, said he was not allowed to attend to the animal when it was in labour. He said he was denied entry into the zoo on a verbal order from the zoo director.

delhi Updated: Nov 14, 2018 13:20 IST
Joydeep Thakur
Joydeep Thakur
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
delhi zoo,chinkara,chinkara dies in delhi zoo
The Chinkara’s conservation status according to International Union for Conservation of Nature is ‘least concerned’ — two categories below vulnerable. (HT Photo / Representative Image)

A Chinkara, an Indian gazelle, died on Tuesday at the National Zoological Park in New Delhi after giving still birth on Saturday. The calf died during delivery and could be removed from the mother’s body only on Sunday as the zoo’s chief veterinary officer alleged he was denied entry into the premises.

The chief vet, Abhijit Bhawal, who lives in the staff quarters located behind the zoo, said he was not allowed to attend to the animal when it was in labour. He said he was denied entry into the zoo on a verbal order from the zoo director who, he claimed, has been forcing him to go for training at the Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun. “I told the director I had a newborn at home and could not go out of town leaving my family unattended,” said Bhawal.

The zoo director, he said, officially relieved him from duty on November 9 and asked him to attend the training.

“On Saturday afternoon, when I came to know that a Chinkara was in labour, I rushed to the zoo. The security guards, however, refused to let me in, said Bhawal. The vet said he sent a letter to the zoo director, the zoo curator and also to the Union ministry of environment and forest on November 10 stating that he was not allowed into the premises. Hindustan Times has seen a copy of the letter sent to the director.

The zoo director did not answer questions on the incident.

“I am in National zoo director’s conference in Lucknow,” Renu Singh, director of the zoo said when asked to respond to Bhawal’s allegations.

The curator of the zoo confirmed the animal’s death. RA Khan, who is officiating in Singh’s absence, said he was looking into the allegations levelled by the chief vet. “A Chinkara died after having a still birth. I have no such orders from any authority to restrict the zoo vet’s entry. I came to know about the incident on Monday night that he was not allowed. I am enquiring into it,” he said.

The Chinkara’s conservation status according to International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, is ‘least concerned’ — two categories below vulnerable.

According to a senior zoo official who asked not to be named, the gazelle went into labour on Saturday morning. At night, it’s calf died, this person added. The official said that the zoo finally called two vets from outside on Sunday.

First Published: Nov 14, 2018 13:20 IST