The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Zoo mum on new giraffe

Alipore zoo hasn’t decided whether it will give Nandankanan a replacement for Sundar, the male giraffe that died while being transported to Orissa on Saturday.

Veterinarians believe they could have saved Sundar, who possibly came in contact with overhead power lines, had the 11-year-old giraffe’s escorts decided to return to Alipore after the accident instead of continuing the journey.

The accident occurred at Bagnan, a two-hour drive from the zoo. By the time Sundar was brought back to Alipore for treatment, around 12 hours had been lost.

No official at Nandankanan could be reached for comment.

Although electrocution was the most likely cause of death, Alipore zoo director S. Chowdhury said he would rather wait for the post-mortem report to confirm it.

“We hope to receive the post-mortem report by Monday. The exact cause of its death will then be clear, though circumstantial evidence indicates electrocution was the cause,” he said.

Sundar was buried on the zoo premises on Saturday night. Alipore zoo now has three male and as many female giraffes.

“All six are from Kenya. We have not decided whether we should give them (Nandankanan) another giraffe as part of the exchange programme,” Chowdhury said.

Three giraffes were transported from the zoo to Delhi, Lucknow and Madras over the past few years in the same manner Sundar was being taken to Orissa.

“They were transported in a low-bed trailer (18 inches high from the road) and reached safely. We are not to be blamed for what happened to Sundar. The incident occurred probably because the escorts from Nandankanan were not cautious while transporting the animal,” Chowdhury said.

Another zoo official said Sundar may have been electrocuted when the driver of the trailer suddenly veered towards the left.

“As of now, it seems that because of a sudden turn, the neck of the giraffe touched an electric cable.”

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