Probe smells ‘foul play’ in death of blackbuck at Kanpur zoo
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Kamna Pandey, AWBI member who conducted the inquiry, told The Indian Express: "We cannot rule out foul play, as there are too many discrepancies in the statements of officials. If blackbuck died when they hit the fence in panic after dogs entered the enclosure, then why there is no head injury?"
Pandey, who reached
the Kanpur zoo on the morning of January 20, said AWBI is planning another detailed enquiry.
She said there were several holes in the state officials' theory. Though the boundary wall of the Kanpur zoo was broken, the enclosure of blackbuck, which is situated nearly 80 metres from the boundary, had no signs of breach. Also, the enclosure is surrounded by iron railings with spikes, it is nearly three metres in height and covered with wire mesh.
"It is really amazing that the dogs choose the blackbuck when there are hundreds of spotted deer roaming freely in the zoo campus. Zoo officials stated that in the past also, dogs had been feeding on spotted deer. So what prompted them to jump so high and enter the blackbuck enclosure?" Pandey asked.
She said that the zoo officials' claim of shooting three dogs (two inside the blackbuck enclosure) at night is far from convincing. "It is strange that the shooting was done inside the enclosure of a Schedule-I protected animal, it can lead to heart failure of blackbuck. Besides, the shooting prowess of the zoo official is great if he can shoot two running dogs with two shots on a chilly winter night in torch light," she said.
The first postmortem of all dead animals was conducted the same night within two hours and the blackbuck buried inside the zoo. When the carcasses were exhumed, they were found buried hardly 2 to 3 feet in the ground. The organs of all blackbuck were intact, showing that none of the organs had been operated for analysis. There was a big slit made on the chest and stomach and rest of the skin in all 31 of them was intact. "All this raises suspicion of foul play," she said.
On the other hand, the second postmortem, conducted on the order of the government, began at 9:30 pm on January 21 and continued till 5:30 am on January 22. Pandey remained present during the second postmortem process.
UP's Chief Wildlife Warden Rupak Dey, however, denied the allegations. "It is true that the spotted deer roam freely in the Kanpur Zoo, but it is also true that dogs killed our blackbuck. We have shown every possible evidence to her during the postmortem. Even body parts of blackbuck were recovered from the stomach of dogs. Let her submit the report to AWBI, we will answer all queries of MoEF," Dey stated.
On how dogs entered the blackbuck enclosure, Dey remarked: "For this, an enquiry is going on and we have also lodged an FIR. But one thing is certain that the blackbuck were killed by stray dogs."
Some of the questions raised
If blackbuck died when they hit the fence in panic after dogs entered the enclosure, then why there is no head injury
Though the boundary wall of the Kanpur zoo was broken, the enclosure of blackbuck, which is situated nearly 80 metres from the boundary, had no signs of breachIt is really amazing that the dogs
Why the dogs choose the blackbuck when there are hundreds of spotted deer roaming freely in the zoo campus