KARACHI, March 16 A young Arabian oryx, said to be just a few days old, died in mysterious circumstances at the Karachi Zoological Garden sometime on Monday night.
The calf was in the zoo hospital and was found dead on Tuesday morning. This was the second death of the same species in four days. On Friday, the female oryx that had given birth to the calf a day earlier also died. She was found dead the following morning.
Reportedly, the calf which had been bottle-fed with goat milk became weak after its mother's death.
Sources blame both the deaths on some sort of infection that could be the result of a lack of care.
Two adult Arabian oryxes, one male and the other female aged around one year, died at the zoo about a year ago.
All four of them were born at the zoo.
No zoo official was available for comments.
The pair that died earlier had reportedly succumbed to the injuries they had suffered when they ran in panic into the fence. Such deaths, according to sources, are not uncommon at the zoo. Animals are scared into panicked flights either by visitors throwing various things into their enclosures or by untrained staff cleaning their enclosures.
After these four deaths, the zoo is left with only a pair of Arabian oryx, the old pair which was originally bought from a private farm in 2007.
The female, sources say, has also been hospitalised for a foot injury.
Native to the desert areas of the Arabian peninsula, Oryx leucoryx (Arabian oryx) were largely extinct in the wild by the 1970s, but were saved in zoos and reintroduced into the wild in the 1980s.
The animal is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List. In good conditions, it can survive up to 20 years, according to the information available on a website.