A Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that around 456 animals have died at the National Zoological Park in Delhi between April 1, 2018, and December 31, 2020. The said RTI was filed by animal rights activist Vivek Pandey on July 7 this year.
As per the data, about 245 animals died at the facility between April 1, 2018, and June 7, 2019. Another set of 115 animals died between July 8, 2019, and March 31, 2020. The RTI response also revealed that an additional 96 animals died at the National Zoological Park between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The leading causes of death include enteritis (70), shock (150), traumatic shock (47), senility (73), cirrhosis (30), pleurisy (12), tuberculosis (5), cannibalism (1), and so on.
According to the RTI reply, several endangered species have lost their lives between 2018-2020. These include spotted deer (31), blackbuck (101), and tigers (6). IANS reported that the zoo also lost a white tigress named Nirbhaya after giving birth to two cubs. Her father, Vijay, had previously killed a man in 2014 when he fell within the tiger’s enclosure.
Animal rights activist demands constitution of a committee to probe cause of deaths
While speaking to OpIndia, animal rights activist Vivek Pandey said, “It’s depressing that more than 450+ animals have died at the zoo. I have also noticed that most animals have died due to shock. The RTI reply hasn’t elaborated on the ‘shock’ aspect. A fund of ₹157 crore was disbursed to the National Zoological Park. I have noticed that the cost of treatment was pretty less. It may be the case that the animals died due to poor treatment. One important aspect to note is that white Bengal tigers, tigresses, and lions have also died. Over 70 blackbucks have died due to shock.”
“Several endangered species, housed in the Delhi zoo, are dying. If the trend continues, then, they will become extinct. Zoos are built for their preservation but even then they are dying. This is a matter of investigation. It needs to be probed why the animals are dying so frequently. Now if this is the case in Delhi, one can anticipate the condition of Zoological parks in the other States of India. A high-level committee must be formed by the State and Central government to probe whether the animals had died due to the negligence of the zoo authorities. Based on the findings of the committee, a report must be published in the public domain. Adequate steps should be taken to prevent such deaths in the future,” he concluded.