LAHORE, March 26: Thirteen animals have died in the wildlife section of Jallo Park during the last three months because of alleged negligence of keepers, it is learnt. An official source told Dawn that three goral deer, a blackbuck and a hog deer died in a week — between Jan 19 to 26.

Similarly, two chinkara deer and a blue bull died between Feb 3 and 14, and a blackbuck, a goral deer, a hog deer, a crocodile and a blue bull between March 6 an 14. The park management and the wildlife department did not make public the deaths.

Some of the animals died because of injuries and some due to consumption of substandard food. A blue bull died of a sedative overdose through a dart gun by the son of Wildlife Officer Anwar Maan. The officer was reportedly teaching his son the art of operating the gun.

Since the Punjab Wildlife Department does not have sufficient veterinarians to look after ailing animals, many animals die because of delayed/improper treatment.

All dead animals were sent to the Veterinary Research Institute for postmortems.

Another source alleged that some of animals were buried in the park without the knowledge of senior officials.

Anwar Maan, Jallo wildlife section in charge, confirmed seven deaths and said the animals had died because of multiple reasons. He admitted that he had given the dart gun to his child for giving sedatives to the animal, adding: “My child is an expert in giving sedatives to animals.”

He said the blue bull was in good state of health after administration of the sedative. He said the bull had died when it was being transported to an army garrison in Chunian.

Mr Maan said the crocodile, which died at Jallo, had been sent by the Lahore Zoo. The crocodile was a donation and was already ill.

About the death of a blackbuck, an extinct specie, he said the deer was blind and was being treated well at the park.

Answering a question, he said `positive things’ were also happening at Jallo as a barbary sheep had given birth to a baby in captive breeding.

Wildlife Director-General Imtiaz Tajwar was not available for comments.