Prima facie it was ruled as “death due to natural causes”Polluted water from Miralam Tank is one among the suspected causes of the death of ‘Mahishmati’, the Asiatic lion cub in the Nehru Zoological Park on Saturday night. Veterinarians who had conducted post-mortem on the 15-month-old’s body, found the internal organs partially damaged, and suspect that it could have been due to water contamination. Other than that, there was no apparent reason for the sudden death of the feline.
Another plausible trigger could have been undiagnosed congenital health problems, they say.
“During the post-mortem, we found the liver and the kidneys of the cub to be partly damaged. We suspect that it could have been due to the highly polluted water from Miralam Tank which flows through the zoo park,” said a veterinarian from the team of doctors that had conducted the autopsy.
The deceased cub and three of its siblings were reportedly released into the Safari about three months ago, exposing them to the water outlet from the Miralam Tank running through the zoo.
While Mahishmati died all of a sudden without any outward symptoms, the other three are doing fine, officials informed. However, they will be checked for the levels of toxicity in the body, and administered anti-toxins if need be.
The zoo had summoned experts externally for the post-mortem, and there were 10 to 12 doctors in the team, including those from Veterinary Biological Research Institute, Lacones (CCMB), and the College of Veterinary Science, apart from the zoo’s own veterinarians.
They could not find any external injury or bite which could have caused the death, and food poisoning too was ruled out because the animals were kept without food for the entire previous day. Hence, prima facie, it was ruled as “death due to natural causes”.
However, samples of internal organs have been collected to be sent for forensic analysis to ascertain the precise reason, highly placed officials from the Forest department have informed. According to the statistics submitted to the Central Zoo Authority, the zoo had lost 49 animals and birds in 2015-16 to old age, infighting, and digestive tract disorders. Of the deceased, 40 were mammals, seven were birds and two were reptiles.