KARACHI: At least three more animals died of a mysterious disease at the zoo, raising the death toll to 12 over the past few days, it emerged on Tuesday.
Sources said that a brown fallow deer, an urial (a kind of wild sheep) and a hog deer — all female — died on Monday following the deaths of seven white fallow deer — one male and six female — and two female hog deer.
However, zoo officials have confirmed only 10 deaths so far.
“Two white fallow deer and an urial have died over the past three days, bringing the total number of deaths at zoo to 10. Currently, three deer species are under treatment. Of them, one is in a serious condition,” said zoo director Bashir Saddozai.
He added that the zoo was yet to receive a test report from a laboratory.
The zoo, according to Mr Saddozai, has been making all-out efforts to bring the situation under control.
“We are acting on an advice of a committee constituted to look into zoo deaths. Medicines being administered to animals have been changed and fumigation has been done on their advice,” he said.
After the recent deaths, sources said, the zoo was left with only three white fallow deer, a hog deer and five brown fallow deer.
According to the sources, the death of the female urial is significant because the zoo had only one pair of the species, while it had already lost the male urial some time back.
It is noteworthy that the zoo had got the urials pair in April last year in exchange for three fallow deer species without acquiring a mandatory permit in this regard from the Sindh wildlife department.
The pair of urials — a wild sheep found in Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab and classified as ‘vulnerable’ in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List —was offered by a private mini zoo owner. The animals were between six and eight months when they were brought to the zoo.
Samples The veterinary services director of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation has submitted a preliminary report to the KMC chief, stating that samples taken from the dead white fallow deer and brown fallow deer will be sent to the Central Veterinary Laboratory, Tandojam.
According to the report, feed samples will be sent to the Pakistan Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR). A final report will be submitted after receiving reports from the two labs.