Leopard, lion die in Bangalore zoo

October 24th, 2010 - 6:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Oct 24 (IANS) A leopard and an aged lion died within 12 hours of each other between late Saturday and early Sunday after prolonged illness in the Bannerghatta Biological Park on the city outskirts, an official said.

“The 14-year-old leopard Ganesha had been on a liquid diet over the last 45 days as he was suffering from neurological disorder. With its paws and limbs paralysed, the ailing feline died late Saturday,” zoo conservator Milo Tago told IANS.

Similarly, lion Raja, 26, the oldest among the 12 big cats in the zoo, died in the wee hours after its vital organs were infected by tuberculosis (TB) at the rescue centre.

“Raja was 16 when it was brought to the zoo from a circus company at Gulbarga in north Karnataka. He has fathered a dozen cubs,” Tago said.

The latest deaths take the toll of big cats in Bannerghatta Biological Park to nine since September second week, when two tigers succumbed to Salmonella infection contracted from consuming stale red meat.

The popular zoo, spread over 25,000 acres or about 100 square km, is home to several wild animals, including elephants, deer, rhinos, and other carnivorous and herbivorous species.

“We are taking all measures to prevent recurrence of such deaths as some of the wild cats such as lions, tigers and leopards are being treated at the rescue and rehab centre for aging and other related symptoms,” Tago said.

There are about 20 leopards and panthers, 11 lions and 12 tigers — nearly half of them aged between 10-15 years.

“After a spate of deaths over a month, the zoo authorities have been monitoring the animals’ health regularly and serving meat that is first tested for freshness and quality,” the zoo executive director said.

A four-year-old Royal Bengal tigress Minchu died after a renal failure Oct 5 though it was recovering from the typhoid causing bacteria Salmonella.

Minchu’s elder sister Divya, a Siberian cross-breed, and an unnamed 45-day lion cub also became victims of the dreaded infection.

Moreover, three tigers have died since mid-September due to old-age.

A team from the state-run Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals investigated the death of tigers in the zoo, a major tourist attraction, about 20 km from city centre.

The over three decades old park, surrounded by dense forest and scrub land, houses 1,300 carnivorous and herbivorous animals.

About 1,300 kg of meat, largely beef, is supplied to the zoo to feed the animals daily.

The park also has a crocodile farm, a butterfly enclosure and a snake park.

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