Odisha’s Nandankanan Zoo loses over 11 animals in a month

Bhubaneswar: Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP) situated on outskirts of Bhubaneswar city recorded more than 11 animal deaths just in one month during COVID-19 pandemic.

The sudden surge in mortality of wild animals at the zoo raised concern among authorities after a 27-year-old female Indian bear succumbed to a kind of infection just in 12 hours of death of a same bear species ‘Debasish’ (aged about 7-and-half-year) on premises of the wildlife habitat.

The female bear Arati died under treatment, informed Nandankanan deputy director Bimal Chandra Acharya. She was a member of the zoo since September 13, 2013, when she was 20 years old. Following her death, Professor Dr. Niaranjan Sahoo from OUAT has conducted autopsy that revealed that the wild animal’s intestine was infected with a same virus detected in body of Debasish.

With two fresh deaths, total 3 bears have died in the last 18 days at Nandankanan.

Meanwhile, another Indian bear ‘Lija’ (8) is undergoing treatment in ICU of Nandankanan veterinary after being infected with the same deadly virus. She was brought to Nandankanan after being rescued from Khallikote area in Ganjam district when she was only 2 years old.

Besides, two more bears have shown similar symptoms at the zoo. The veterinary doctors have started their treatment. As part of precautionary measure, 15 Indian bears including five females have been vaccinated to protect them from infection.

Reports said that over 30 animals have died at the zoo in span of six months during the pandemic.

It is to be mentioned that such situation had never occurred in the past at the NZP, which is closed for over 180 days since March 2020. Though, no bigger animal has died in the recent past at the zoo, the death of a few rare species including anaconda and Himalayan bear have upset the wildlife lovers.

On August 16, two baby marmoset monkey species were born at Nandankanan, of which one died within two days of birth. Presently, there are four marmosets at the zoo. Two days after the incident i.e on August 18, a 25-year-old brahminy kite died due to age related ailments. With the bird’s death, only one brahminy kite is left at the zoo. In the past one month, one sambar and two deer have died at the zoo.

Similarly, on August 25, a female golden pheasant died following an infection. In snake species, only two king cobras are at the zoo after death of a king cobra on August 31.

Moreover, the NZP has now only 5 anacondas after death of a giant snake on August 28. Last year, two anacondas had died. Total 8 yellow anacondas were brought to the Nandankanan Zoo from Madras Crocodile Bank Trust and Centre for Herpetology, in Chennai on October 22, 2019. The first death of anaconda at the zoo was reported on November 28, 2019. The zoo lost its second Anaconda in two days i.e on November 30, 2019.

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