Puppy,a 27-year-old hippopotamus in the Alipore Zoo,was found dead early Wednesday morning. Preliminary investigations have revealed impaction intestinal congestion in the animals as the cause of death.
After the zoo authorities found Puppy floating in the pond early morning,a group of 30 to 40 people immediately set out to haul the over- 3,000 kg animal out of the water. The authorities later buried the creature beside its enclosure as is the case with most heavy animals.
Claiming impaction to be a common problem in herbivores,Director,Alipore Zoo,K L Ghosh said the intestinal congestion occurs frequently in large animals such as elephants and hippopotamuses. He said there was no problem in the quality of food served to the animal. The post-mortem report is expected to arrive in two weeks.
Born in 1986,the hippopotamus was brought to the zoo from Mumbai in 2005. She,subsequently,gave birth to a calf next year,who happens to be the only female hippopotamus in the zoo,alongside two male ones who are of the same age as Puppy.
Puppy would usually spend 11 hours a day underwater,with only its mouth and nose visible to the visitors. Its diet comprised soft grass,sugarcane tops,bananas,carrots and cauliflowers.
Zoo authorities claim that the hippopotamus seemed fine till yesterday evening and did not display any symptoms of an illness. Discovering its death in the morning,the other three hippopotamuses have been shifted from the enclosure which has been cordoned off for the time being and is expected to open to public only after a week. The animals,meanwhile,are being monitored regularly by the zoo authorities.
K L Ghosh said that the zoo does not have any immediate plans to procure another hippopotamus. Its family was not in the adoption programme launched by the zoo earlier this month.