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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Population explosion in Delhi zoo

Contraceptive pills have not worked and frustrated Delhi Zoo authorities are now resorting to extreme measures, reports Ripu Daman Singh.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2007 17:45 IST
Ripu Daman Singh
Ripu Daman Singh

It's breeding season for black bucks and they are multiplying like, well, flies. Contraceptive pills have not worked and frustrated Delhi Zoo authorities are now resorting to extreme measures.

Castrating of two black bucks has been their most recent effort to control the rising population of these antelopes. “We did this to see if we could control the sexual activity of these animals. But, this has led to other complications, like they stopped shedding their horns and started experiencing cancerous growth that had to be operated upon,” says director DN Singh, National Zoological Park.

Although segregation seems ideal for these herbivores, it is a tough task to isolate black bucks owing to their sensitive nature. “At present, they are 66 in number. We have partially segregated them, but to control breeding, complete segregation is required,” says Singh.

Delhi zoo authorities have also had to castrate other animals like leopards, sambars and cheetals to control increased breeding. However, animals for which the Zoo has proper housing provisions are never abstained from mating. “Carnivores, being terrestrial in nature are easier to keep separate. But herbivores live in herds and hence it is antagonistic for them to inhabit in isolation,” adds Singh.

So the only solution that the Delhi Zoo authorities are left with is to expand the existing enclosures of black bucks. At present there are two enclosures covering a stretch of 5,000 and 2,500 square metres each. “We plan to double the existing area for black bucks in a few months so as to keep their numbers in check,” confirms Singh. Or else, there is always an option of gifting a few antelopes to other sanctuaries of India.

First Published: Jan 26, 2007 17:45 IST

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