KARACHI, Jan 30: While the city district government remains reluctant to make public the findings of its slow-moving inquiry into the death of 12 spotted deer, two more animals — a male nilgai and a female red deer — have died during the past three weeks at the Karachi zoo.

The mortality figure at the zoo has risen to 20 animals, including a female Bengal tiger, over the past four months.

This is the third and the second death among the nilgai and red deer, respectively, in recent months.

The nilgai had reportedly remained unwell for many weeks before it succumbed to tuberculosis. In the deer’s case, it is said to have swallowed a polythene bag and died of prolonged constipation.

“After these deaths, the number of nilgai and red deer has reduced to 10 and four, respectively,”

a zoo source said, adding that polythene litter posed a serious threat to animals, especially deer, and had claimed many animal lives over the years. He also said that one of the reasons of reduced population of red deer was that the Safari Park and the zoo had not exchanged animals since the former became an independent entity about two years ago.

Sources said that the death toll at the city zoo continued to mount because the city government had not taken any concrete steps to address the issues affecting the wellbeing of animals.

Although the inquiry initiated about two months ago into the death of 12 spotted deer identified the cause of deaths, it neither fixed responsibility in the case nor did it mention the precise source of infection.

“A blood parasite, trypanosomiasis, was declared as the cause of animals’ death. The report didn’t mention the source of infection. Nor did it hold anybody responsible for the deaths. However, it pointed out that the delay in the diagnosis of the disease and treatment took place because the blood samples were mistakenly tested for human infections at a private laboratory,”

a source said, adding that the report, which had been submitted to the district coordination officer, suggested a number of measures to prevent the outbreak of such infections in future.

The suggestions included appointments of more vets and staff, regular vaccination and examination of animals besides allocation of more funds for the zoo’s upgrade and maintenance.

So far, the city government has only managed to vaccinate animals.

“All animals, big and small, were vaccinated some weeks ago for the first time in a decade. Earlier, only problematic animals were vaccinated,”

a source said. About the practice of giving goose meat to one of the male Bengal tigers, he said that had been stopped after the zoo administration decided to offer ‘fresh’ chicken meat to the ailing beast.


KARACHI: Two more animals die at Karachi zoo/ Dawn

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