Delhi zoo quizzed on smuggled animals replacing the dead

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New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Accused of illegally capturing wild animals, like the Indian civet, to replace dead ones to avoid an enquiry, Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has sought explanation from the Delhi Zoo, a document accessed by IANS revea;s.

“The Central Zoo Authority had requested Director, National Zoological Park, New Delhi to submit a factual report” on the “illegal capture of Small Indian civet and other wild animals” within seven days. “However, it has been 19 days but the factual status has not been submitted to this office,” CZA Member-Secretary D.N. Singh said in a letter dated April 19.

This was the second reminder by the CZA seeking an explanation from the Delhi Zoo.

The allegations, termed “quite serious” by the CZA, were made by green activist Ajay Dubey.

A senior official of the Delhi Zoological Park confirmed that reports of such violations have been received by them.

“Some officers had informed that some employees did capture some other species,” a senior official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

According to the complaint by Dubey, officers of the Delhi Zoo “illegally captured” wild animals from the its sprawling campus and also got some “smuggled” from outside the zoo to replace the dead captive animals.

Among the animals captured and replaced, according to the complaint, includes Indian civet and monitor lizard, both widely found in and around Delhi.

“The animals were first kept in the veterinary hospital and afterwards, they have been transferred to the enclosure of the species in Beat No.3 of the zoo few days ago,” said a previous letter citing a complaint by the green activist.

“You are hereby directed again to submit the factual status report… The allegations being quite serious, the report be submitted within seven days without fail,” the CZA ordered the Delhi Zoo.

Unlike other zoo across nation, Delhi Zoo falls directly under the Union Environment Ministry and is presently without a director.

“Zoo has a mandate, it is for the educational sensitisation towards the animals. Its highly illegal and unethical to cover up the animal deaths by literally smuggling the species and replacing the dead, just to flee the enquiry. Such act would keep the cause of the deaths and scope of improvement to remain unknown,” Dubey told IANS.

The CZA letter also points out the reference of the case wherein a zoo ranger had alleged that five monitor lizards were captured to replace the ones who had died in January.

(Kushagra Dixit can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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