December 19, 2014 2:51:35 am
A female leopard died at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) on Wednesday, taking the number of leopard deaths at the national park in Borivali to four since October.
Fourteen-year-old Poman was suffering from a bacterial infection and had been kept in a separate cage and was under medical care, said Vikas Gupta, chief conservator of forests, SGNP.
The leopard, who got her name from Poman village in Vasai, from where she was captured, was found dead around 10.30 pm.
After three leopards died, national park authorities had written to Central Zoo Authority (CZA), seeking expert help to investigate reasons for deaths.
Earlier this month, head of the department of wildlife heath at Wildlife institute of India (WII) Pradeep Malik, and A K Sharma, principal scientist at Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), had visited the national park to suggest measures to improve health of the captive leopards.
The visiting team said that the post-mortem report of leopard Nethra, who had died earlier, showed kidney damage, a potential effect of bacterial infection leptospira sp, the same infection that Poman was also diagnosed with.
“The animals are generally infected after coming in contact with the urine of rodents, infected with the bacteria. The disease also spreads through infected drinking water,” said Sharma, who is also in-charge of the Centre for Wild Conservation, Management & Disease Surveillance, IVRI.
The SGNP authorities are now putting up wire meshes in the under-construction enclosures for the captive leopards inside the park. “We are trying to make the new enclosures entirely rat-proof, as far as we can.
We don’t want any more leopards to be infected,” said Gupta.
Last month, the park lost 13-year-old Nethra and 18-year-old Daksha. In October, 15-year-old leopard Raja succumbed to old age. The SGNP also lost a lioness in October.
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