Even before 31 blackbuck were killed by canines inside Kanpur zoo on Saturday night, stray dogs are believed to have entered the zoo several times before and killed some animals which were buried by the zoo officials without informing the higher authorities.
On Tuesday, forest officials exhumed the carcass of a chital from within the zoo. The newly appointed zoo director K Thomas said the carcass appeared to have been buried about ten days back. It will now be sent for autopsy.
Thomas said the whole area where killed animals are alleged to have been buried without any autopsy by the zoo officials was being scanned to search for any other buried carcasses. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Rupak De said he was waiting for the post mortem report of the exhumed chital to find out how the animal died, adding that the malafide of the zoo officials could not be ruled out.
Thomas said the second autopsy of 31 blackbuck killed by the stray dogs on Saturday night had been completed and the report sent to the Forest Department. The government had ordered the second autopsy after the first post mortem report revealed that 18 out of 31 endangered animals had died of shock. The stray dogs had entered the zoo from the area where boundary wall of the zoo is broken for more than six months.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, who is also Minister for Forests, had suspended the six officials, including then zoo director K Praveen Rao on Sunday for dereliction of duty. An inquiry is also being conducted in the matter by a team consisting of Principal Secretary of Forest VN Gard and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests J S Asthana and others.