The Delhi zoo on Thursday ordered an inquiry after its last cape buffalo died allegedly due to the consumption of a plastic bag.
The cape buffalo, a species found only in Africa, died on August 27. Veterinary Officer Abhijit Bhawal who conducted the postmortem found a plastic-like material in the stomach of the animal, an official said.
The zoo had two cape buffaloes. One of them died in February 2017.
"The administration has taken a serious note of the incident and an inquiry has been ordered into it. Strict action will be taken against anyone found guilty," Riyaz Khan, the zoo's curator, said.
Former joint director A K Bhowmik will lead the probe and submit a report.
Khan said samples of the plastic-like material have been sent to a Bareilly-based laboratory for testing.
"Though there's a complete ban on plastic inside the zoo, polythene bags find their way to animal enclosures through birds," he said.
The zoo banned plastic in 1992. Authorities have also put up notice boards warning visitors against bringing plastic inside, he said.
Visitors undergo frisking at the gates and if anyone is found carrying plastic bags inside the zoo, a penalty is imposed according to the guidelines of the Central Zoo Authority.
Another zoo official said the cape buffalo was very old and stones were also found inside its stomach.
The official claimed the animal passed stool and urine on the day of its death.
"The postmortem report says a plastic bag choked the intestines of the cape buffalo. How can the animal pass stool if that's the case?" the official asked.
Alleging negligence on the part of zoo administration, the official said, "Small plastic bottles of water and juice are sold at kiosks inside the zoo. Visitors discard them wherever they like. There's no check on it."
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