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Tiger toll spurs surprise check

Four tiger deaths in eight months at Jawaharlal Nehru Biological Park, Bokaro, spurred district forest officer (DFO) Kumar Manish Arvind to conduct a surprise inspection of the animal habitat on Monday.

The DFO examined aspects such as animal upkeep, food, hygiene and security.

Reaching the park with a four-member team, Arvind inspected the meat served to carnivores such as leopards, panthers, lions and tigers.

He then inspected the zoo facility, including enclosures and the boundary wall.

Arvind asked authorities to serve fresh beef to big cats.

If that was logistically not feasible, he asked them to ensure that the beef was doused in boiling water to kill harmful bacteria. Ideally the zoo should have a meat house with cold storage, he added.

Arvind also asked caretakers to wash their hands and feet well before entering animal enclosures to serve food.

This stress on hygiene is the fallout of six-month-old white tiger cub Akbar’s death due to diarrhoea in November.

The tiger toll started from April this year when Vishnu, a male Royal Bengal tiger, died of what zoo authorities claimed were natural causes. Infant white tiger cub Anthony died accidentally in June when his mother Ganga sat on him. His father Satpuda died of paralysis in August. Sibling Akbar was the latest casualty.

The Bokaro DFO added that he had told authorities to build the broken zoo boundary wall to prevent stray trespassers and induct more manpower.