Animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi has come down heavily on authorities of Nandankan Zoological Park charging that their inept handling led to series of mishaps in the zoo.

Following the death of five tiger cubs in the zoo, Ms. Gandhi shot a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said not a single official had ever been penalised for the mismanagement of affairs.

“Today the zoo is regarded as the worst in the country with an unacceptably high mortality rate. In one day over 10 white tigers died due to bad food. I had sent animals from the Bokaro SAIL zoo. All the animals died immediately. They took a baby giraffe from the Kolkata zoo - they managed to bang its head against a pole on the way back and it died,” she said in a letter. The prominent animal activist went on to say that “the bear I brought in from a tribal has got an eye problem. The zoo director refuses to treat it and has taken it away and locked it up so that it died soon and they can put the blame on something else.”

“The point is that not even one official has ever been penalised. If the zoo employees can go on stealing the food, giving them bad care, killing them, and getting away with it, it reflects very badly on the culture and ethics of the State,” she said.

Ms Gandhi said local staff as well as doctors needed training while the person heading the zoo should be punished.