According to reports, 13 cheetal and one swamp deer died Friday evening under “mysterious circumstances” at the Kanpur Zoo. Viscera samples and stomach content have been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI). Results are expected sometime within the next two weeks. The samples will also be tested at the Lucknow forensic science lab to rule out “sabotage.”
One possible reason for the deaths may be high nitrate levels in the fodder, although 259 herbivores were served fodder from the same stock. Although all remaining animals appear to be fine, they have been placed under a 48-hour watch.
Seven zoo employees, included four security guards and a keeper, have been suspended for “neglect and dereliction of duty.” A show-cause notice was issued to zoo director K.P. Rao. A four-member committee is investigating the incident.
Several deer died within an hour under similar circumstances last year at the zoo. Feed was the cause.
Cheetal photo by Mayankkatiyar