Zoo animals die after drinking sewage water

Thirty-two blackbucks died and two rhinos were at risk after drinking sewage water which flowed into their enclosures in New Delhi’s main zoo.

The Press Trust of India news agency said zoo officials confirmed the deaths of 32 blackbucks, a species of antelope, after sewage water entered their enclosure during this year’s unprecedented heavy monsoon rains.

Sewage water also entered the moat surrounding the rhinos’ pen, putting them at risk.

Zoo officials said today that post-mortem examinations on the dead animals revealed intestinal infections which could have been caused by drinking contaminated water.

New Delhi’s National Zoological Park is spread over 86 hectares (214 acres) and is home to more than 2,000 animal and bird species.

Federal environment minister Jairam Ramesh said efforts were continuing to check the pipes and ensure that sewage water does not flow back into the zoo.

Kartick Satyanarayan, a wildlife expert, said another wallowing pool had been created for the rhinos so they did not have to drink water from the moat.

A team of veterinarians and wildlife experts was to visit the zoo to investigate the deaths of the blackbucks. Nearly 100 antelopes remain in the zoo.

The blackbuck, or Antilope cervicapra, is found mainly in India, Nepal and Pakistan. The male blackbuck has distinctive long, twisted horns.

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