Capture Myopathy: when rescue sounds death knell for wild animals

The 2.5-year-old female leopard which died of kidney failure in January.

The 2.5-year-old female leopard which died of kidney failure in January.  


Chowsinga and leopard died after being brought to Nehru Zoological Park

It was silent death for two rescued beasts during the last two months, not mourned despite its tragic nature. The Chowsinga which was rescued from a well during mid-February died in zoo, so did a leopard rescued about a month previously.

The 2.5-year-old female leopard which was hit by a train in the forests of Sirnapally, Nizamabad, early in January, died a week after being brought to the Nehru Zoological Park. The animal was initially thought to be suffering from immobility of the hind body due to nerve damage, and later diagnosed with failed kidneys, veterinary experts said.

“We tried our best to revive the animal. Doctors from the veterinary university diagnosed it with badly damaged kidneys,” said M.A. Hakeem, Assistant Director of Nehru Zoological Park.

Experts outside the zoo attribute the death to ‘Capture Myopathy’, a disease complex associated with the stress the animal is subjected to during capture and handling by the humans. It could also occur in the wild, but the instances are rare. The leopard was only one among the 90% of the rescued wild animals which die due to the condition, an official from the Forest Department said.

In this instance, the leopard may have died of ‘Subacute Capture Myopathy’ which involves paralysis and renal failure. After arriving in the zoo, the feline did not eat, and was sustained through intravenous fluids.

While denying Capture Myopathy in this case, Dr. Hakeem however said the Chowsinga or four-horned antelope which was rescued from an agricultural well in Shankarpally, Ranga Reddy district, in the third week of February, died due to the same condition.

“The animal did not have serious injuries when we rescued it. It died of shock within a few hours after being brought here,” the veterinarian said, adding that herbivores are more prone to this condition. A gaur recently rescued from another agricultural well near Penchikalapeta village of Atmakur mandal of Warangal Rural district, however, is doing well.

Dr. Hakeem said the animal’s lower jaw was near totally broken, and had to be reattached through surgery. A sloth bear rescued about three months ago too has recovered, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 11:23:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/capture-myopathy-when-rescue-sounds-death-knell-for-wild-animals/article22921374.ece

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