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Last Updated:  Thursday, 20 February, 2003, 18:46 GMT
Indian zoo probes chimp death
By Habib Beary
BBC reporter in Bangalore

Zoo staff remove the chimpanzee's body
Meena died after her arm was amputated
Officials at an Indian zoo are investigating possible foul play in the death of a popular chimpanzee.

Meena, who was 33, died at Mysore zoo on Wednesday after doctors amputated her gangrenous arm.

A complaint has been lodged with the police and an inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of Meena's agonising death.

The zoo wants to know if keepers played a role in her demise, and believes a person or persons is trying to damage its reputation.

Meena arrived in Mysore from Sweden eight years ago.

Doctors amputated her arm on Tuesday in a 90-minute operation, but she died 24 hours later.

Suspicions

Officials say Meena's arm had been crushed by the sliding door of her enclosure on Tuesday and gangrene had set in in her fingers, wrist and arm.

We suspect foul play, but we are waiting for the inquiry report
Kumar Pushkar, zoo director
Zoo director Kumar Pushkar said the inquiry would try to find out how the chimp had injured her arm.

He hinted at a possible plot by certain keepers who he suspects of trying to damage the state-run zoo's reputation.

"We suspect foul play, but we are waiting for the inquiry report to book the guilty," he told the BBC.

"The police have swung into action and we hope to take action sooner rather than later," he said.

Conspiracy theory

Mysore Police Commissioner B Gopalkrishna visited the zoo on Thursday to begin investigations.

Mr Pushkar said two emus from Australia had been killed in the zoo two months ago.

"There seems to be a plan to discredit the zoo by members of our own staff," he said.

The Mysore zoo is 110 years old and has over 1,100 animals.





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