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Monday, October 24, 2005

India Zoo Flooded, Animals are Safe


MYSORE, INDIA: Animals at the century-old Mysore zoo escaped death by the skin of their teeth when a neighbouring lake breached and its water flooded the zoo area on Saturday night. There was no sabbatical on Sunday at Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens.

Thanks to the overflowing Karanji Lake, water gushed into Anjaneya Temple located between the lake and zoo. Eight-foot-wide walls which are a bulwark for the Indian bison enclosure came crashing down. Before the zoo staff could gather its wits, the zoo was flooded.

In no time, water from the bison enclosure cracked the compound abutting the elephant enclosure, reducing the "walkthrough" reptiles' area into a pond.

Sixteen zoo employees battled hardhitting rain and swirling waters to rescue 14 caimans, 11 alligators, seven ghariyals, two saltwater crocodiles, a marsh crocodile and 12 varieties of birds and snakes. "Water level reached 9 feet and the crocodiles were almost washed away in the waters. We've been in water since 2 am and haven't slept a wink," Manjunath, a zoo employee, said.

The enclosures of African black rhino, sambar, mountjack, swamp, rhesus monkey, macaque, spotted and swamp deer and wild dog were flooded. Zoo executive director Manjo Kumar said all species of animals are safe, and the zoo was open for visitors as usual.

The incident is a throwback to 1993 when an overflowing lake had carried 11 crocodiles out of the zoo premises. Manoj Kumar said water flow was affected as Doddakere had been encroached upon.

Recalling the past-midnight emergency operations on Sunday, he said: "At a meeting with the deputy commissioner and corporation commissioner, we prepared a strategy to carve out a passage for flood water."


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