Langur dead in zoo with bullet hole

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Darjeeling
  • Published 7.02.05
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Darjeeling, Feb. 7: A grey langur died in Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park here on Saturday, with a hole in its chest and the airgun slug that embedded it deep in its flesh.

Zoo officials said the langur ?may not have died because of the flesh wound? and that the incident was ?only a mishap?, but questions are being raised about the security in the park, which houses the critically endangered snow leopard and red panda.

A source said an autopsy conducted on the primate suggests it died of internal haemorrhage, but could not determine how many days it lived after being injured.

?A guard on his morning rounds saw the langur, a seven-year-old female, pacing around in the enclosure that she shared with two other females and a male, around 8 am on Saturday,? the source said.

?Suspecting something wrong, he rang Siromani Sangden, the state in-charge of the zoo. But the monkey died before any help arrived.?

The caretakers, who feed the animals every morning and evening, said they never noticed the injured animal behaving strangely.

Sangden said: ?It is unfortunate, but nothing more than a stray mishap. We are not even sure if the injury caused the langur?s death.?

He added that there is ?adequate security? in the park ? eight night-guards and four day-guards who man the exit. In addition, there are three forest guards. ?Over 3 lakh people visit the zoo each year and, frankly, it is unfeasible to even think that each and every visitor can be checked before being allowed in. The incident cannot be branded a breach of security.?