BAHAWALPUR: On Friday night, seven precious spotted deer died suddenly in their enclosure at the zoo.
It is understood that the deaths took place because there were barely any visitors to the zoo.
The deer started to fall one after another while getting their dinner, according to eyewitnesses and field staff members, and expired after some time.
They said they found that the dropping deer were in great pain, rolling on the ground and expiring in no time afterwards.
They expressed apprehension that there might be any adulteration in the fodder they were given and it was not possible to rule out wrongdoing by the officials.
A press release released on Saturday by the zoo curator reported that there had unexpectedly been a serious situation where the deer in their enclosure had started to collapse.
They were instantly offered first aid, he said, but seven of the 22 deer were killed. By giving them prompt medical help, he said, the lives of others were spared.
A team was formed to perform the postmortem examination of the dead deer and the medical examination of those who had been rescued, Curator Ibrar Ahmed said. The team consists of veterinarians from the Bahawalpur and Cholistan livestock departments and a teacher from the zoology department of Cholistan University.
He said the team submitted samples to the labs for analysis. The postmortem of a deer will also take place at Lahore University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences.
Deputy Director Rai Zahid Ali of the Wildlife Bahawalpur Division told Dharti News that it was premature to say anything about the cause of deer losses, but it was not possible to rule out the chance of mischief.
He said there was a three-member committee set up to investigate the incident.
The commission, led by Deputy Director Dr Sohail Azmat of the Cholistan Livestock Department (Bahawalpur), will submit a report within two to three days on the potential causes of the zoo incident. Action against any official found guilty of wrongdoing will also be recommended.
Meanwhile, the event was condemned by wildlife campaigners and civil society and demanded action against the authorities responsible for it.
They advised the commissioner of the division and the deputy commissioner to take stern note of the nearby zoo’s loss of life and inadequate upkeep.