Mumbai: Bacterial infection killed Dory, states report

Updated: Nov 16, 2016, 09:45 IST | Laxman Singh and Rupsa Chakraborty

While zoo director maintains report makes no mention of stress to the bird, activists allege no experts were involved

Remaining Humboldt penguins at the Byculla zoo
Remaining Humboldt penguins at the Byculla zoo

The detailed histopathology report of the dead Humboldt penguin (Dory) has confirmed that bacterial infection and digestive complications led to her death at the Byculla zoo on October 23.

Row over report
The two-page report was submitted by the Mumbai Veterinary College to the zoo authorities on November 9. It confirmed the presence of gram negative bacteria that led to septicemia and then death. The report concluded, “Above findings are suggestive of variant degree of acute vascular inflammatory change,” which means bacterial infection caused haemorrhage in several organs.

Speaking to mid-day, Byculla zoo director Dr Sanjay Tripathi said, “The histopathology report has confirmed bacterial infection. There is no mention of any stress to the bird.”

When asked about whether the quality of food provided to the penguins is tested properly, Tripathi said, “We are not taking any chance and the penguins are being fed the best quality of fish.”

However, animal experts have raised questions over the detailed report. An activist from NGO RAWW, Pawan Sharma, alleged, “It’s no surprise the second report doesn’t have much details on the cause of death. There were no expert doctors involved in the histopathology... The anatomy of penguins is completely different from animals found in India.”

Past-mortem
Under the zoo revamp project on July 26, the BMC and Byculla zoo authorities had brought eight penguins from Seoul’s Coex Aquarium. After the death of one, activists and citizens had alleged that the quarantine facilities made by the zoo authorities were not up to the mark, which is what led to the penguin contracting a bacterial infection.

The preliminary post-mortem report out on October 24 had suspected bacterial infection. It had said, “On the basis of post-mortem lesions, it appears that the penguin might have taken ill due to some infection (bacterial), leading to septicemia and death. However, a detailed investigation (bacteriological and histopathological) is in progress.”

Explaining the complication in digestive systems, the report had also mentioned that the bird’s liver was enlarged and mottled with blood patches on the skin and haemorrhage and dead cells. Its stomach showed undigested food with bones of fish, it had concluded.

Meanwhile, the hearing on a complaint filed by opposition leader Pravin Chheda with the Lokayukta in the penguin project has been postponed to November 23.

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