Red deer dies at Zoo
* Third endangered animal to die in past 3 months
By Shoaib Ahmed
LAHORE: The Lahore Zoo has lost a male red deer to Tuberculosis (TB), Wildlife Department sources told Daily Times on Monday. It may be recalled that two endangered animals, a chimpanzee and a Bengal tiger, died in October.
Sources said the deer had been sick for several days and died some days ago. Muhammad Nasir Saleem, the deputy director of the zoo, confirmed the deer’s death but said that because the zoo had not received the post mortem report from the Veterinary Research Institute (VRI), the cause of death could not be ascertained. He said that the deer had probably died from TB.
Mr Saleem said that a female red deer was also suffering from the same disease and was being treated. He said that TB was a contagious disease and could spread to other animals if they were kept together. He added that the ailing dear had been quarantined.
Raja Javed, the director of the zoo, contradicted Mr Saleem by saying the post mortem report had been received and proved the deer died of TB. He added the female deer (which Mr Saleem said was suffering from TB) was in good health.
Lahore Zoo lost Tinku, an endangered chimpanzee, to illness in October. In the same month another endangered animal, a Bengal tiger also died of illness. Zoo authorities said that the tiger had eaten sharp bones, which had caused deep cuts in its stomach.
Sources said that mostly sick animals were not quarantined and treated in the presence of other animals. They said the zoo lacked a veterinary hospital and x-ray facilities as well as stretchers to carry animals in case of emergencies.
Rao Iftakhar, the director general of Wildlife, said that the government was trying to improve medical facilities at Lahore Zoo. He said that the Wildlife Department had comprised a team of four medical experts to oversee all medical issues at the zoo. This team would visit all parks and zoos to identify TB-affected animals, he added.
Red deer are the largest mammals in Britain. They have a reddish-brown coat, which changes to a gray hue in the winters. The deer has a cream coloured on its rump and a short tail. Only male deer have antlers.
The deer’s back and sides are lighter in contrast with the rest of the body. Male deer have a dark mane from the neck to the chest. The deer’s legs are slender and the body is sturdy. Males are usually larger and heavier than females.
Red deer inhabit grasslands, forests, mountains and moors. They are usually forest dwellers and can adapt to other environments. They inhabit places where food is easily available.