New Delhi: Nine big cats, including white tigers and lions, have died in the last three years at Delhi's National Zoological Park, which is a participant in the conservation breeding of Asiatic lions and Bengal tigers.
According to data shared by the zoo, a lioness, a Bengal tiger and two white tigresses died in 2020-21, a lion and a lioness died in 2021-22, and three white tigers -- two males and a female -- died in 2022-23.
The animal mortality rate at the zoo in the last three years stood between 11 and 13 per cent, according to its inventory reports.
The death rate was 11.22 per cent in 2022-23, 11.79 per cent in 2021-22 and 12.34 per cent in 2020-21.
The zoo reported a total of 125 deaths between April 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023. There were 1,247 animals in the zoo on March 31, 2023, the data showed.
A total of 137 deaths were reported from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. The number of animals in the zoo stood at 1,114 on March 31, 2022.
The data showed that on April 1, 2022, there was a total of 1,114 animals in the zoo. Of these, 244 were newborns, 37 were brought from outside and 23 were given to other zoos.
In 2020-21, 124 deaths were recorded. There were 1,005 animals in the zoo on April 1, 2020 and 275 were born there. A total of 36 animals were brought from outside and 30 were given to others. The number of animals in the zoo was 1,162 on March 31, 2021.
National Zoological Park Director Akanksha Mahajan said, "We are taking appropriate measures to maintain sound health of animals. Accordingly, the mortality figures are reducing, which is a good sign. We want to further reduce this figure." The zoo acquired five male and 10 female Indian star tortoises in 2021-22. Out of them, one male and seven females died. The numbers -- four males and three females -- remained unchanged in 2022-23, the data showed.
There were two female Sika deer, also known as Northern spotted deer or Japanese deer, in the zoo. One died in 2021-22 and the other in 2022-23, it stated.
There were 103 blackbucks in the zoo on April 1, 2022. The number stood at 123 on March 31, 2023.
Two common ostriches were brought to the zoo in 2021-22. There is one African elephant in the zoo.
Ten Indian muntjac, a deer species native to Southeast Asia, died in 2022-23, while 12 were born during the same period. The number of Indian muntjac stood at 98 on April 1, 2022 and 88 on March 31, 2023. Between April 2022 and March 2023, the zoo gave 12 Indian muntjac to other zoos, the data showed.
In 2021-22, 11 Indian Muntjac died, 28 were born and 32 were given to other zoos, it stated.