Vikash Sharma

The death of a lioness due to snakebite inside Nandankanan zoological park in Bhubaneswar has snowballed into a controversy with Animal Welfare Trust Ekamra (AWTE) lodging FIR against the zoo authorities for negligence.

The organisation has demanded an impartial probe by Police or a Wildlife organisation instead of the concerned zoo officials. In its complaint, AWTE founder Purbi Patra alleged that, “Unavailibility of adequate amount of anti-snake venom (ASV) stock resulted in the delay in the treatment of the lioness. As per the Government of India and WHO protocol, 10 numbers of vials of ASV needs to be administered within 1 hour of snakebite. But according to Zoo authorities only three vials had been given (that happened either due to lack of stock of ASV or lack of knowledge of zoo veterinarians). In either case, sheer negligence killed the lioness.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the 15-year-old African lioness, ‘Ganga’ died a day after being bitten by a Krait at Nandankanan zoo on Saturday. As per the Zoo authorities, a highly venomous snake was found near the water tank inside the enclosure. Three vials of anti-snake venom (ASV) were administered to the lioness but it didn’t respond and succumbed.

Meanwhile, several wildlife conservationists have also raised questions on the response of the zoo authorities in connection with the incident.

In its complaint, the AWTE has also demanded to involve a team of experts from the Forensic Medicine and Toxicology from AIIMS Bhubaneswar during the post mortem. The organisation believes that there could be a conflict of interest as the Centre for Wildlife Health of OUAT is funded by Nandankanan.