Peshawar zoo loses over 34 animals in three months

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PESHAWAR: Peshawar Zoo has lost more than 34 animals since its inauguration in February, according to a report revealed on Thursday.

The report has been compiled by the investigation committee formed to probe the sudden deaths of animals at the zoo.

A dark cloud hovered over the Peshawar zoo following media reports of deaths. The zoo has lost more than 30 birds, one nilgai (an antelope endemic to Indian subcontinent), a snow leopard, a fallow deer and a monkey.

The report concludes that the birds and nilgai passed away due to breathing problems.

A four-year-old fallow deer, which died on March 1, was initially reported to have died under ‘mysterious circumstances’. However, the report states that the deer was killed due to its collision with the rods of its cage. The sub-adult female deer, which was of American-African origin was brought to the zoo two weeks before it died.

Three days later on May 4, the zoo lost one of its monkeys. The monkey died after being severely injured by a wolf, which was kept in the same cage as the monkey.

On March 15, a 10-year-old snow leopard expired at the zoo. The snow leopard brought to the zoo from galiyat, was scheduled to be taken back on April 15 due to hot weather.

The post-mortem report had revealed that the snow leopard had died of clogged arteries and the report confirmed that the leopard died of natural causes. This contradicted earlier beliefs that the leopard had died due to old age. It was, in fact, revealed that the leopard had excess fat in his arteries resulting in death.

While speaking about the report, investigation committee member Muhammad Mumtaz Malik stated that animal deaths occur in zoos across the globe. He further said that report has been submitted to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

The investigation committee report stated there is also no laboratory at the zoo premises for the treatment of common diseases among animals.

The report added that the animals don’t have a natural environment which causes them discomfort, adding that the doctors and the staff employed at the zoo haven’t been properly trained to take care of the animals.

The report suggested that the office of zoo project director should be established within the zoo premises, grass should be grown in cages of some animals and the medical staff treating animals must be trained.

Moreover, Malik said that there is a need to create awareness among people to not throw stones at zoo animals or tease them.

Peshawar zoo, which spreads over 29 acres, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak on February 12.

The zoo, located in Rahatabad area near the University of Peshawar, was completed at the cost of Rs270 million.