A tigress died in Delhi Zoo due to "acute renal failure" and old age-related health problems. Its samples were sent for coronavirus testing as the authorities feared the death might have been due to the infection. However, the samples have tested negative, as per officials.
The 13-year-old big cat named Kalpana died on Wednesday evening and the carcass was cremated on Thursday following directions to minimise human-animal interface, an official from the Environment Ministry said. The tigress had grown frail. The post-mortem revealed high creatinine levels, the official said on Friday.
Bollywood actor-director Pooja Bhatt took to her Twitter handle and called the incident 'tragic'. She also added that the zoos should be shut down as the animals are only caged for 'human entertainment' and people fail to take care of them.
Netizens agreed with Bhatt and wrote, "Their territory and habitat is way different than ours. Zoos are nothing but isolation of animals at extreme level." The other said, "It’s eternal Lockdowns for them. Close down all zoos." [sic]
This is deplorable. It’s time to shut down zoos permanently. The virus has reminded us how insignificant we are in the scheme of things. And we want to cage animals for entertainment when we can barely look after them. Tragic. https://t.co/EBjEj91kdA— Pooja Bhatt (@PoojaB1972) April 25, 2020
Former member secretary of Central Zoo Authority (CZA) D N Singh on Friday alleged lapses on the part of the zoo authorities.
"The tigress seems to have died due to dehydration. A senior veterinary officer from Jabalpur had advised the zoo officials to administer saline through rectum, as it is easier to absorb in the body this way, but the zoo staff did not do that," Singh alleged. "Also, no senior official was present when the animal was being cremated, which is in violation of the rules," he said.
Kalpana the Albino Tigress of the Delhi Zoo dies, not because of Covid but because of insufficient veterinary care. The tainted vet Abhijeet Bhawal who was suspended earlier for malpractices, has been reinstated by @PrakashJavdekar against every protocol. What a shame @moefcc ! pic.twitter.com/Spu3jqY4Eq— gauri maulekhi (@gauri_maulekhi) April 25, 2020
Earlier this month, the Environment Ministry and National Tiger Conservation Authority had issued strict guidelines to minimize human-animal interface after a tiger in the Bronx Zoo, in the US, contracted coronavirus from an infected caretaker.
The CZA has also asked zoos across the country to remain on "highest" alert and collect samples fortnightly in suspected cases.
The samples can be sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Disease in Bhopal, the National Research Centre on Equines in Haryana's Hisar and the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh.
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