In fact, the total number of deaths recorded last year was greater than the combined figure of the three years prior to that. The zoo recorded 97 deaths in 2015-16; 56 in 2014-15; and 103 in 2013-14.
As many as 77 spotted deer deaths were recorded in 2016-17; 33 of these occurred due to rabies.
Another 59 blackbuck -a Schedule-I animal under the Widlife Protection Act, 1972 -died, several of them dying due to pneumonitis, an inflammation of lungs.
A total of 109 cases related to `traumatic’ shock that, zoo officials said, might occur when the ani mal was stressed or faced with extreme weather conditions. “Animals, especially deer, often fight among themselves to show superiority. This sometimes causes shock,“ said a zoo official.
In addition, 23 deaths were reported due to senility, 32 because of enteritis, 21 due to pneumonitis and eight owing to tuberculosis.
The zoo also lost all four of its monitor lizards, which were `pulled’ out during hibernation, leading to shock.An exotic African cape buffalo died due to tuberculosis.
Zoo authorities said they were taking precautions. “We are regularly cleaning the enclosures and using anti-viral spray for animals. We are using disinfectants for ponds and workers have been asked to use gloves,“ said Renu Singh, director, Delhi zoo.