Carcass of two pregnant chitals found buried inside Kanpur zoo

Authorities were not aware of the deaths

Not one, but two chitals (spotted deer) were buried in the Kanpur zoo without the knowledge of the authorities. Postmortem on Wednesday showed that the female chitals were pregnant, and had died from shock about 15 days ago.

K Thomas, the new Director of Kanpur zoo, said that there was no record of the death of these two chitals in the zoo. The two spotted deers, were in addition to the 31 blackbuck which were killed by stray dogs inside the zoo on Saturday night. Since the autopsy report of the chitals mentions shock as the cause of death, the same as that of the blackbuck, the authorities are not denying that attacks by dogs had taken place in the zoo in the past.

The possibility of more animals having been buried on the zoo campus without the knowledge of the administration is also not ruled out by the authorities. "We have decided to undertake a combing operation of the entire 76 hectares of the zoo within the next two to three days, to find if there are any more such buried animals," said Thomas. The inquiry team headed by Principal Secretary of Forest VN Garg visited the zoo to probe the Saturday incident. Three stray dogs were killed by the zoo staff that very day. The dogs had entered the zoo through the broken boundary wall. The team, which include JS Asthana, Principal Forest Conservator; R Hemant Kumar, Conservator of Forest, Varanasi, and Dr Utkarsh Shukla, Deputy Director of Lucknow zoo, also met the district magistrate, municipal commissioner and other officials to discuss the management of stray animals in the city.

"The cause of death of the blackbuck seems to be stray dogs which might have entered the premises through the broken wall. However, sabotage as the cause of death can still not be ruled out," said Asthana, adding that the second autopsy conducted on the blackbuck by the experts of Indian Veterinary Research Institute, found bite marks on 20 deers, scratch marks on seven and no injury on four of them.

"We are planning to recommend putting CCTV cameras at various places inside the campus, including animal enclosures and public visiting area, provision of a mode of communication between the zoo staff, and repair of the boundary wall and animal enclosures," Asthana said.

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