Salmonella scare makes K’tka zoos chicken out
After tigers falling prey to the bacteria, 1,000 carnivores in state’s zoos will not be fed the white meat till the situation is under control
Posted On Monday, September 27, 2010 at 01:07:16 AM
The Zoo Authority of Karnataka is striking chicken off the menu for more than 1,000 carnivores in the state’s zoos, following the death of tigers and lions at Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) due to the salmonella bacteria.
There are seven major zoos and five mini zoos in various districts. The carnivorous animals have been housed only in Bannerghatta, Mysore, Shimoga and Davanagere. Every day, more than 1,000 carnivores were being fed chicken along with beef, mutton and eggs.
“But now, we don’t want to take any chance as the situation is bad. We do not want to face the kind of difficulty we are going through at Bannerghatta in other zoos also,” said M N Jayakumar, additional principal chief conservator of forest and member secretary, Zoo Authority of Karnataka.
Forest department sources said BBP has the highest concentration of carnivores in the country. Even a minor disorder can have a cascading effect on all other zoos in the state.
“While we have a testing mechanism to check the quality of meat in zoos, we do not have a system to check the quality of chicken,” said yet another senior BBP official.
For the last couple of days, tigers at Chamarajendra Zoological Garden in Mysore and Tavarekoppa Tiger-Lion Safari at Shimoga have not been fed with chicken, fearing the salmonella outbreak.
“Though we have not decided on banning it permanently, we will put a hold on it until everything subsides. If we are able to tackle the outbreak, perhaps we could get chicken only from branded companies henceforth. A decision in this regard will be taken later on,” said Jayakumar.
Tigers on a detox diet
With the situation under control, BBP authorities are focussing on detoxifying the 15 recovering tigers naturally. The tigers, who were given antibiotics, are showing signs of recovery.
Experts from Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University have now prescribed therapeutic packages to detoxify the animals through a controlled diet system, said a senior BBP veterinary expert.
As part of this programme, tigers have only been given beef and a few of them, beef soup. Because of the medication, some of them were reluctant to eat.
“But we are chopping the meat into very small pieces in the form of a soup along with salts. For those tigers lacking in potassium and calcium, liquid food rich in these salts are fed through the canal route,” Jayakumar said.