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Leopard cub dies at Mumbai’s national park, officials suspect poisoning

A source from the park said that Tara, a female cub, might have also been infected but she is better now

mumbai Updated: Sep 15, 2018 00:00 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai leopards,Sanjay Gandhi National Park,SGNP leopards
Abandoned by their mother last November in a sugarcane field in Nandgaon village, Ahmednagar district, Suraj and Tara, were brought to SGNP’s rescue centre in December last year(Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)

Ten-month-old male leopard cub Suraj died at Sanjay Gandhi National Park’s (SGNP) leopard rescue centre due to acute illness on Tuesday night, said park officials on Friday.

SGNP director and chief conservator of forest, Anwar Ahmed said, “As of now, we are not sure about the exact cause of death. All we can say is poisoning cannot be ruled out. Another leopard at the park’s rescue centre is also ill, and we are monitoring the animal’s health. The situation is worrisome.”

Suraj was unable to support himself on both hind limbs, said the park’s veterinarian. “Suraj developed acute illness on Tuesday morning and was in a critical condition within a few hours. He died due to acute illness at 9.30pm Tuesday,” said SGNP veterinarian Dr Shailesh Pethe.

A post-mortem conducted by pathologists from the Bombay Veterinary College on Wednesday said the cause of death was ‘toxaemia accompanied by cardiorespiratory complications’.

“This generally means that blood poisoning from either a bacterial, microbial or chemical infection that led to the death,” said Dr DP Kadam, pathology department, Bombay Veterinary College, Parel.

SGNP has sent Suraj’s visceral samples to the Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratories in Kalina for toxicology analysis.

A source from the park said that Tara, a female cub, might have also been infected but she is better now. Abandoned by their mother last November in a sugarcane field in Nandgaon village, Ahmednagar district, Suraj and Tara, were brought to SGNP’s rescue centre in December last year after forest officials failed to reunite them with their mother. HT had reported in June this year how the park nursed the two cubs into healthy active subadults.

First Published: Sep 15, 2018 00:00 IST