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Wednesday, Feb 18, 2004

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Guwahati zoo to get four Royal Bengal tigers

By Sushanta Talukdar

GUWAHATI, FEB. 17. In the wake of the death of a tiger in the Assam State Zoo here today, the authorities are speeding up the acquisition of four Royal Bengal tigers from the Mysore Zoo under an exchange programme.

The Divisional Forest Officer in charge of the Assam State Zoo, Narayan Chandra Mahanta, said that the formalities to bring the tigers had been completed. The Central Zoo Authority had approved the exchange.

Eleven-year old Kartik, which died of cancer around 6 a.m., was born to the Royal Bengal tigers, Radha and Kashyap, brought from the Nandan Kanan Zoo in Bhubaneswar in 1993. Radha died in 1998, and Kashyap last year.

"After the death of Kartik, we are left with only one tiger. So we have decided to expedite the process of bringing four Royal Bengal tigers from Mysore at the earliest," Mr. Mahanta said. Under the exchange programme, the Assam zoo would give one cassowary — a large flightless bird, like the emu — to the Mysore Zoo.

Veterinary experts detected a cancerous growth on Kartik's tongue in 2002, and treated it successfully. On May 30 last, they removed some growth from its mouth. The animal responded to treatment and was on a normal diet of 8 to10 kg of meat a day. "It stopped eating since February 15... The post-mortem findings indicate that the cancer had spread to its other organs," Mr. Mahanta said. The carcass was burnt in the zoo premises.

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