Jamuna, Crazy and Deepa are no more. The names hardly ring any bells, but for animal lovers, tourists, kids and several Hyderabadis, the death of the Elephant, Asiatic lion and the Panther respectively, could well mean the passing of a generation at the popular Nehru Zoological Park (NZP), Hyderabad.
All three animals, which were among the major attractions at the Zoo passed away within a month. The worrisome part is that a couple of more animals, including a white tiger named Vinay and a Panther, all ageing, are also battling for life at the medical facility within the 380 acre Zoo.
The 44-year-old Jamuna was one of the six Pachyderms that drew large number of visitors. The female Jumbo, compartively young, suffered from chronic respiratory and kidney related issues for three months before breathing its last on June 20. Another elephant named Rajni is favourite for being decked up during the Bonalu festival, now the State festival of Telangana .
The elephants were so popular that the Zoo authorities had launched a `Selfie with elephant’ in 2017, facilitating it by building an elevated bridge near the enclosure. Interestingly, the Zoo had a towering elephant named Hashmi, which lived upto 75 years and died in 2004. It was a very familiar sight and belonged to the Nizam’s Trust.
Started in 1963, the NZP is the most popular and one of the largest Zoos with an average of 27-30 lakh visitors annually. It has over 155 species and 1550 specimens in spacious enclosures with tiger safari, nocturnal animal house, butterfly park, Jurassic Park and a train. Once during the 1980s, the park boasted of the first giraffe and cheetahs.
Close on the heels of the elephant, the Zoo lost one of its Asiatic Lions, Crazy. The 15-year-old, brought from Rajkot in 2010 got infected with Septicemia, which led to damage of lungs. It succumbed on June 28. Two more Asiatic Lions are also down with serious problems. The Zoo has a total of 21 lions.
The Zoo authorities claim that proper treatment is being provided and help is being taken from the Veterinary & Biological Research Institute. In most of the deaths, the animals have lived upto optimum age in captivity. They cited the case of Deepa’s case, the female Panther, which who passed away on July 5 at the age of 22. The average life span of Panthers in captivity is upto 18 years, they claimed.
Asked about the sudden spike in sickness and deaths, the Zoo Curator, Shivani Dogra said, “though there are deaths but they are of different species and not a spurt. There is also birth of cubs and tigress as well as hyenas recently.”
We are providing best possible treatment and taking expert views from VBRI and LaCONES and elsewhere. Regular drives for cleanliness and hygiene as per seasons are also being carried out . One major concern has been water, especially during summers.
Being an old Zoo, we also have many ageing specimens and infrastructure, so we have taken up redesigning and re-building initiatives for the improvement of night houses to ensure better facilities for the animals, Shivani told BusinessLine.