Leopard dies in Bhopal national park

June 4th, 2009 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, June 4 (IANS) A 16-year-old leopard, Sheru, died at the Van Vihar National Park here Thursday, the second death of a big cat in as many days, a wildlife official said.
“Sheru was brought from the wild in Seoni in 2001 (and) was well till Wednesday. It had stopped eating anything and died while being treated Thursday,” Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) H.S. Pabla told IANS.

“The death has been natural as the leopard had lived his age. He was around 16 years of age,” Pabla added.

A three-year-old tigress, named Ira, died at the park Wednesday.

With this, the park has lost 24 big cats in the last five years.

They include 15 tigers, five leopards and three lions.

Tigress Ira was hale and hearty till Tuesday afternoon but was seen vomiting in the evening. The animal was brought to the park in October 2006 from Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, also in Madhya Pradesh, when she was five months old.

Pabla denied there was any laxity in treating the animal.

“Park doctor Atul Gupta contacted the veterinarians and started the treatment but extensive medical assistance by the administration could not save the tigress who died early Wednesday,” he said.

Experts from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, and the Veterinary College in Jabalpur were consulted, he said.

“She had a high fever (106 degrees) and was breathing heavily. Intense heat might be the reason for her illness. Her vomiting could have caused suffocation,” said A.B. Srivastava, who led a three-member doctor’s team.

Added park director S.S. Rajput: “Autopsy revealed that the big cat suffered obstructed oxygen supply following vomiting. This often happens with humans but is rare among animals.”

A committee led by Srivastava will probe the cause of the death. Earlier this year, a tiger cub, Pancham, who was brought to Van Vihar National Park for treatment from Pench National Park died April 15, 2009.

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