NEW DELHI: In the last three years, the National Zoological Park located in the national capital has lost around 450 animals, including tigers, lions and others, revealed an RTI.
According to the reply received by activist Vivek Pandey, the zoological park commonly known as Delhi zoo, hosts 1,347 creatures. In 2019, it saw the death of maximum animals — 189. There were 123 deaths in 2020 and 137 in 2018, stated the reply.
In this period, there have been deaths of six tigers and tigresses and one lion. While the RTI reply does not state the reason for the death of tigress Nirbhay, it also does not mention its cub which died of acute illness, as claimed by the zoo administration last year. They had said last year that the six-year-old Nirbhay died due to complications after given birth to two cubs on December 10.
In 2020, two tigresses, one tiger and one lion died. In 2018, two tigers were the casualties. Reasons for death, as mentioned in the RTI, states senility, renal failure and multipledge nerative lesions. However, maximum deaths reported were of black bucks. Around 100 of these animals died in this period, stated the reply. The IUCN List has declared this species as Nearly Threatened. Hunting of black bucks is prohibited under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
The activist had also sought information on budget and medical expenditure details of the zoo. The reply stated that the government provided funds of Rs 41 crore, Rs 23.18 crore and Rs 23.02 crore for the 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. Zoo authorities in this period spent 7.09 lakh, Rs 14.89 lakh and Rs 10.41 lakh on medical expenses.
“Funds for the zoological park are released in crores, but not utilised properly for medical care of these animals. This could be a reason for the high mortality rate. Death of endangered species like black bucks and others should be a point of concern. The Central government should have a mechanism to monitor the functioning of zoological parks,” said activist Pandey.