The Telegraph
Wednesday , August 8 , 2012
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Fourth kangaroo death in 14 months

The last of the four kangaroos imported from the Czech Republic 14 months ago died at Alipore zoo on Monday afternoon, leaving behind a nine-month-old child.

The death certificate states acute haemorrhage in the lungs, followed by a cardiac arrest, had claimed the life of the four-and-a-half-year-old red kangaroo. The post-mortem report records 3.20pm as the time of death.

“The marsupial seemed to have adapted to the Calcutta climate and was doing well even till Sunday morning. It started showing signs of illness in the afternoon and soon became immobile. On Monday, the situation worsened and it was frothing at the mouth. Our doctors tried to inject saline but the kangaroo could not be saved. Probably, it failed to adjust to the frequent change in temperature in the past few weeks,” said Niraj Singhal, the acting director of Alipore zoo.

The death of the last of the four kangaroos gifted by the government of the Czech Republic has once again raised questions on the quality of animal care at the zoo and the ability of the authorities to create a proper atmosphere for kangaroos, which are known to live at least 27 years in captivity.

Metro spoke to various wildlife experts in an attempt to identify lapses at the zoo and what the authorities should do to save the joey.

Unsuitable climate

The red kangaroos are habituated to the semi-desert condition of central Australia — hot and arid. In Calcutta, by comparison, they suffered heat, rain and cold.

“The Indian weather does not suit kangaroos. That is why the six kangaroos that had come to Mumbai zoo last year also died. The animals are not being able to adapt to the Indian condition and dying an untimely death,” said an official of the Central Zoo Authority.

What the authorities should have done: Before bringing the marsupials, the authorities should have studied their natural habitat to find out what needed to be done to ensure their survival.

Too close to noise

Kangaroos are very sensitive to loud noise and disturbance. The authorities had still set up their enclosure near the busy Alipore Road.

“A drain beside the road, around 200 metres from the enclosure, is covered with an iron grille. Whenever vehicles pass over it, especially at night, the noise and vibration disturb the animals,” said a zoo official.