TIRUPATI: Wild cats, mostly leopards, are dying mysteriously in SV Zoo here. Neither officials of the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA) nor virology professors and veterinary scientists are able to ascertain the exact cause of the deaths of the wild cats.
Two leopard cubs rescued from Kapila Theertham in Tirupati 10 days ago and another found trapped in a hunters’ net in Irala mandal 25 days ago died on Saturday. Four cubs — three tigers and one leopard — born in SV Zoo too died on Saturday. After the first cub’s death, the food it ate was tested at reputed virology labs and the CZA was alerted.
SV Zoo officials made some changes on the animals’ diet, including drinking water, but in vain.
Two weeks later, two more cubs died.
Additional chief conservator of forest BK Singh said every death at the zoo was being studied carefully. “Since the last six months, every animal in the zoo is being provided RO water and boiled water. In June, every cage was disinfected and the places in the cages where the animals sleep were sterilized,” he said.
Beef and fish for the wild cats are bought only after proper examination by two doctors every day.
“After the death of the first tiger cub, we had a contract with Dr Naveen, a senior medico having considerable experience working with the Nehru Zoological Park, to visit every month,” BK Singh explained.