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Updated: September 17, 2010 15:37 IST

Centre seeks report on tiger deaths

Staff Reporter
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The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) on Thursday sought a report from the State Forest Department over the recent deaths of tigers and lions at the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP).

The letter asked for information on the circumstances of the death of four big cats over the weekend and whether there was any dereliction of duty. MoEF inquired about precautions taken by the Zoo Authority of Karnataka to prevent spread of disease at the park.

Meanwhile, the health of two more tigers at the park — Arya (a white tiger) and Minchu — took a turn for the worse on Thursday with the felines refusing to eat. Eight tigers at the BBP are now suffering from gastroenteritis.

A meeting will be held on Friday between Member Secretary to Zoo Authority of Karnataka, M.N. Jayakumar, and officials at the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals (IAHVB) to find possible alternatives to the antibiotic course that the eight ailing tigers were on.

“We need an antibiotic that acts faster. But we have to also ensure that a stronger antibiotic is safe for the animal,” said B.K. Singh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife). The results of pathological tests conducted on these tigers will be out by Friday, he said.

Diet sans chicken

B.C. Chittiappa, Assistant Director, Veterinarian Services, BBP, said the tigers were “on the path to recovery”. Chicken, which is suspected to be the source of the salmonella infection that killed the four-year-old tigress Divya on Sunday night, will not be part of the big cats' diet for the next few days, he said. Chicken and egg used to be fed to lions and tigers at BBP once a week in lieu of the staple beef.

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