500 animal deaths at Thiruvananthapuram zoo in five years
Earlier this year, a TB outbreak, caused by mycobacterium bovis, a zoonotic disease, took a heavy toll on the deer population.
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In the last five years, Thiruvananthapuram zoo has witnessed the death of nearly 500 animals. Against the annual average of 100, however, over 70 died in just the first six months of this year -- all deer claimed by tuberculosis. But authorities say that this has not resulted in a decline in the number of species being exhibited.
Currently, the city zoo has 95 species. With the permission of the Central Zoo Authority, it has been engaged in adding more animals to its kitty by way of exchange with other zoos in the country. Earlier this year, a TB outbreak, caused by mycobacterium bovis, a zoonotic disease, took a heavy toll on the deer population.
Zoo superintendent V Rajesh said that on an annual basis close to 100 animals die due to varied reasons. “But the mortality rate has been high this year, largely due to the TB outbreak that saw 71 animals, mostly black buck, spotted and sambar deer, succumbing. But fortunately, the number of species has not declined. Usually, 100 animal deaths occur every year at Thiruvananthapuram zoo,” Rajesh told TNIE.
However, the grapevine is that the mortality rate is being highlighted to coincide with Dr Jacob Alexander’s promotion as deputy director of the animal husbandry department. He is currently on deputation as the zoo’s senior veterinary surgeon. A section of officials is believed to be behind the campaign to place the blame for the animal deaths on Dr Jacob.