Staff Reporter

Stray dog entry into deer enclosure proves fatal Stray dog's entry into enclosure leads to tragedy

One of the antelopes had a dog bite on its rumpEntire periphery of the 380-acre zoo is being scanned Security personnel told to shoot `unwelcome visitors'

HYDERABAD: A stray dog that sneaked past the much-hyped security network at the Nehru Zoological Park put in place after the killing of tigress Sakhi ended up causing the tragic death of four neelgai.

A dog strayed into the deer enclosure late on Thursday night and apparently wounded a male neelgai (known as blue bull). The scared animal triggered off a melee in the display area. Three more deer were present in the area and in the melee, all of them jumped into the moat.

Drowned in the moat

"The four neelgai were drowned in the moat. One of them had a dog bite on its rump while the others had internal injuries during a post-mortem. The injuries could have been caused when they crashed into one another while fleeing from the dog," a senior official of the zoo maintained.

The antelopes had a night house facility earmarked for them. However, the deer family is known for its liking to hang out in the open and the neelgai normally stay in the open in the night.

The latest episode had the zoo authorities going with a fine toothcomb to locate breaches in what they had so far considered a foolproof security system. The killing of Sakhi right in its den a few years ago had raised concerns about safety of animals at the zoo and it was followed by several rounds of inspections and enquiries.

There were also complaints of smugglers getting in during the dark hours to chop off wood from sandal trees.

Jolted by the tragic death of the deer, the entire periphery of the 380-acre zoo is being scanned now. It is suspected that the dog managed to gain entry through one of the drain outlets. "We have some openings along the peripheries to let the drain water out. The dog could have come from one such opening," said Zoo Director V. Kishan.

Only 12 neelgai left

The zoo is now left with 12 neelgai with it. Bluish in colour and considered the largest of the Asiatic antelopes, neelgai are mostly found in Haryana.

The zoo has teams of private security to keep vigil of the sprawling park and personnel, who are armed with air rifles, have been asked to be wary of dogs straying in. They have been directed to shoot such `unwelcome visitors,' it is learnt.