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A pack of stray dogs attacked blackbucks at Sayaji Baug zoo in Vadodara on Friday (Nov 30) morning, leading to the death of six and seriously injuring two others.

“As per the preliminary reports, the cause of death is shock leading to cardiac arrest and respiratory failure due to the attack by the dogs. The blackbucks are very sensitive and timid animals and they tend to suffer cardiac arrest in situations like such. Of the six animals which died, three had prominent dog bites,” said Dr C B Patel, a member of the panel that conducted autopsy.

Zoo officials said that a watchman, who reported for work at 7 am, heard dogs barking, and on reaching the enclosure of the blackbucks he found three dogs there. He then alerted other watchmen who shooed the dogs away.

“We have set up an inquiry into the matter and are investigating as to how the stray dogs sneaked inside the enclosure. The blackbuck enclosure is double-fenced meshes that are more than 5 feet high. Of late, stray dogs have been a menace but we had not faced such a situation earlier. Once we conclude the inquiry, we will take adequate steps to control the dog menace and also ensure more security and safety of the animals,” said Pratyush Patankar, the curator of the zoo.

Vadodara Municipal Commissioner Ajay Bhadoo, who visited the zoo following the incident along with Mayor Jigisha Seth, said initiatives are being taken up to beef up the security by putting more security measures and increasing the height of the fencing.

Meanwhile, Bhadoo has warned of strict action against the zoo staff over the incident.

“Apart from carrying out the root cause analysis, we are also conducting our own inquiry in terms of fixing of the responsibilities of the zoo staff, if any, and the security agency,” Bhadoo added.

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