Pointing AT serious lapses on the part of the management of the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park and Wildlife Research Centre at Katraj, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) said decision to renew the recognition of the zoo would be taken after deliberation on the evaluation report. The CZA has, however, directed the zoo authorities to immediately improve the condition of the veterinary hospital and animal feed store.
Officers from the CZA visited the zoo in May for its evaluation before renewing the recognition under the Wildlife (Protection) Act. In a communication to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the CZA has said that during the inspection of the veterinary hospital and feed store of the Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, the officers were “shocked to see the sorry state of affairs”.
“It appears that the zoo staff responsible for operation and maintenance of the veterinary hospital and feed store were not serious or concerned with the cleanliness and hygiene,” said a letter sent to the PMC.
“The evaluation report of the zoo would be placed before the committee of the CZA for deliberation and decision,” it said.
According to the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009, the zoo should have functional veterinary hospital with basic diagnostic facilities, comprehensive range of drugs, operation theatre and in-patient wards, which are considered the minimum requisite infrastructure for healthcare of animals housed in the zoo. The Rajiv Gandhi zoo was recognised in 2009.
The letter also said that the CZA officers found the veterinary hospital at the zoo to be non-functional. “There were no animal healthcare-related records available in the veterinary hospital, like the animal treatment records, animal history sheets, reports of various diagnostic tests and post-mortem reports. The operation theatre was found to be unhygienic and full of dust, surgical equipment were unclean, operation theatre lamp was non-functional, no alternative electricity arrangement was there for the operation theatre,” said the letter.
The pre-operating room had a non-functional deep freezer that was used to store trays, rope and other rescue-related items and waste. The laboratory room of the hospital was used to dump office records and old batteries. The refrigerator was not used for storing medicines, vaccines or any other drugs. The room of the veterinary officer was not in use, the tranquilising equipment were dirty and not hygienic, the letter said.
The CZA officials also noticed that the store and kitchen at the zoo was in an unhygienic condition. “Green vegetables meant to feed the herbivores were not being washed with water before cutting. Cleaning of fruits and vegetables is essential to remove pesticides, chemical fertilisers and infection-causing material. Whole, ripe banana, without removing the skin, was being fed to elephants. The skin of banana may contain chemical used for its ripening,” the letter stated.
It was observed that meat for feeding carnivores was chopped and cut in open areas where there were large number of house flies and crows that were seen picking up leftover. The containers used for storing animal feed were dirty and had insects and cobwebs. Trays used for transporting animal feed were not washed and cleaned for months.
A zoo officer said: “There was negligence in duty. But they would make the necessary improvement in the facilities as pointed out by the CZA. There would be changes made in the veterinary hospital and feed store to keep them clean and in a hygienic condition.”