"Despite best efforts, the ailment that led to death of blackbucks in the Zoo could not be ascertained. The kind of symptoms developed in affected animals was witnessed for the first time in any Zoo of the country," Nandanvan Veterinary Officer Jaikishore Jadiya told reporters.

Three more blackbucks were suspected to have developed such symptoms and they have been kept in a separate enclosure. Of them, one is in critical condition, he added. After these nine deaths, only 46 blackbucks are left in the Zoo. “Special attention is being given to blackbucks and necessary arrangements have been made for their safety,” Jadiya stressed.

A five member team of senior scientists- four from IVRI, Bareilly and another from Wildlife Institute of India (WII), will reach Raipur this evening and take up the treatment, he informed. The incident came to light with the death of another blackbuck yesterday.

Initially, animals had developed problem with their vision and after few days they completely turned blind. Besides, they also revolve continuously at their position which is also an uneven behaviour, Dr Jadiya stated.

When reports of deaths began pouring in one by one in May, the viscera samples of the animals were sent to IVRI (Indian Veterinary Research Institute), Bareilly in Uttar Pardesh for testing.

"Although we have received report of the first viscera sample from IVRI pointing that problem with liver functioning could be the cause behind death but the exact reason was yet to be known," he added.

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