Sole male rhino at the Delhi Zoo Raja (10) died on Saturday evening after receiving snake bites. He received around five snake bites on his mouth and neck region. The post-mortem revealed that most of the body organs had been damaged or 'digressed' due to presence of high volume of snake venom. The entire mouth and neck region of the rhino was reportedly swollen.
Raja died at 6.32 pm, two and and a half hours after zoo authorities found him, Zoo director D N Singh said. He added, “Our efforts to provide first aid relief to the rhino failed because the CPWD had not repaired eletrical connections in both the rhino enclosure and the medical storeroom.”
“We could not use the water pump to wash away the poison and we also took some time to get the medical first aid kit from the store room as it was dark. All these could have saved Raja's life.”
According to sources, it was very late when the zoo medical officials realised that it was a snake bite. Former NDMC vet S Bahadhur who conducted the postmortem said, “For animals it is difficult to find out the exact cause of death, especially in the case of a snake bite. An anti venom needs around an hour to work.”
Raja was let out with female rhino Maheshwari for breeding since July 30, and according to zoo officials, the breeding was successful. The incident has also raised questions on the saftey of animals in the zoo with regard to natural threats like snakes.
“The green area behind the rhino's enclosure is out of our jurisdiction and so we cannot clear the bushes from where the snake must have come,” Singh said.
AUTHORITIES OF Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary in northe Bengal are once again shining in their ineptness and total lack of care for its inmates. Exactly three days after the chief conservator of forests, wildlife, N C Bahuguna said they were going to keep an eye on a baby rhino, the calf cannot be found.
On Thursday (August 14), the five-month-old rhino calf lost its mother. The mother was bitten by a snake. Forest officials are not certain if it was a King Cobra or a Krait that bit the female rhino. The baby was seen hovering around the body when forest officials arrived to take the dead rhino away for autopsy. As the carcass was being taken away the young calf began following the forest guards.
They were taking its mother away. This was a traumatised child and all the caring forest guards could think of was throwing bottles of milk at the calf. Not surprisingly, the bottles went untouched. And what have the foresters to say to that: They would have made an attempt to catch the baby rhino if it had approached the bottles.
Shame on rhino mothers for not teaching their babies to drink milk from bottles.
Orphaned baby rhinos do not have a history of survival in Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary. Calves as young as this one need rhino milk till they are about a year old. Forest authorities set about looking for a nursing mother and surprisingly, they even found one. She is called Dhongi and has a calf that is about a year old. The idea is to try and make Dhongi adopt the young orphan.
But three days have gone by and forest authorities are still searching for the baby rhino they were supposed to keep an eye on. "For the past three days, we have been searching for the mother-less calf so that we can release it near Dhongi," Ujjwal Ghosh, the divisional forest officer, Wild Life III is quoted in the media as saying.
Once again the sheer callousness endemic to forest officials of north Bengal comes through. In this part of the country, animals die in sanctuaries for no fault of their own and no one is particularly perturbed. No one is punished or hauled up. No attempt is made to put an end to the deaths. The poor animals are pretty much left to fate.
Meanwhile, big talks of elaborate plans for wildlife and forest preservation continue primarily to divert funds into the pockets of the powerful few. Be that as it may, one cannot forget there is one little rhino out there, young, lonely and very hungry that needs to be fed, loved and cared for.
In 1967 one adult female with a calf and two immature bulls were introduced
and confined in a fenced paddock. One bull was gored to death by the female and the other died, apparently from snake bite. The other two animals escaped
on to a neighbouring ranch, and were darted for translocation to Wankie
National Park, but the calf died from drug overdose.