Plaint lodged against Nandankanan zoo authorities after lioness’ death

Bhubaneswar: Death of an African lion at Nandankanan Zoological Park (NZP) on outskirts of Bhubaneswar drew sharp reactions from wildlife conservationists.

A complaint was lodged by Animal Welfare Trust Ekamra (AWTE) with the Nandankanan police yesterday alleging negligence in treatment of the lioness, which succumbed yesterday due to snakebite.

There were ‘absolute laxity’ and ‘dereliction of duty’ by the zoo authorities for which the lioness died of snakebite inside enclosure of the NZP, the animal welfare organisation alleged.

“Unavailability of adequate amount of anti-snake venom (ASV) stock resulted in the delay in the treatment of the lioness, as according to the Govt of India and WHO protocol,10 numbers of vials of ASV to be administered within 1 hour of the bite, but according to the Zoo officials only 3 vials had been given that happened either due to lack of stock of ASV or lack of knowledge of zoo veterinarians. In either case, sheer negligence killed the lioness,” AWTE Chairperson Purabi Patra mentioned in the complaint.

According to complainant, the Nandanaknanan zoo authorities were trying to procure ASV vials from KIIMS through a forest guard named Ramachandra Kandi.

“The purchase date of the used vials and available stock should be taken into account during the enquiry,” she wrote in the complaint.

The AWTE demanded an unbiased post-mortem, proper investigation bringing NZP Director, Deputy Director, veterinarians and range officer and sanctuary management under its purview and action against officials responsible for death of the lioness.

“As snakebites come under medico legal case, its crucial to conduct post-mortem under an unbiased team of State Govt veterinarians that should neither include the vets of Nandankanan zoo as they are the ones who treated the lioness, nor the vets of OUAT as the centre for wildlife health of OUAT is funded by Nandankanan that can create a conflict of interest. Also it would highly recommended to involve the team of forensic medicine and toxicology experts from AIIMS, Bhubaneswar during the PM procedure,” the complaint read.

The 15-year-old African lioness, ‘Ganga’ died on Saturday after reportedly being bitten by a venomous snake at Nandankanan.

Sources said that a venomous snake was found near the water tank inside the enclosure where the lioness was kept. The ailing lioness was administered 3 vials of ASV, but she died.



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