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ON THE SPOT: A herd of black bucks stand and stare in their enclosure at Delhi Zoo on Wednesday while (right) Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh goes round the zoo for a first-hand enquiry in the wake of the death of 18 black bucks last week.
NEW DELHI: A week after 18 black bucks at Delhi Zoo died of intestinal infection and consequent haemorrhage, raising the toll for the month to over 30, Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh visited the zoo on Wednesday and inspected various enclosures.
“The black bucks died because they were consuming sewage water that had flowed into their enclosures from a drain pipe opening into the Yamuna river. Their enclosure is in a low-lying area and due to heavy rains and floods the dirty water entered the moats. The zoo has lost 18 black bucks this past week alone. While the rest of the animals in the enclosure have been shifted, lime spraying is being carried out in the affected areas and the rest of the animals are being treated using antibiotics. We are hopeful that the situation will improve in a day or two,” said Zoo Director A. K. Agnihotri.
Officials from several agencies including the Delhi Jal Board, Central Public Works Department and Wildlife Institute of India accompanied the Union Minister for the inspection on Wednesday. The Minister inspected the wild boar, rhino and black buck enclosures from where the drainage system passes.
“The Minister has asked for a detailed report and told us to take all precautionary measures to ensure that the animals remain safe. We are working to remove the dirty water that has entered the rhino moats and the water stagnation that has been noticed at the wild boar enclosures,” said zoo vet Dr. Paneer Selvam.
The zoo authorities claim that they had complained to the Delhi Jal Board about the backflow of water but no action was taken. “We are looking at the lay-out of the drainage system to ensure that the problem does not recur. After the relatively less rain this week the stagnated water is clearing up. We hope the issue of malfunctioning of the sewage system situated in and outside the park will clear up soon,” added Dr. Selvam.
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