India: Probe into blackbuck killings at Kanpur zoo

File photo of black bucks in an Indian zoo
Image caption The blackbuck is a protected animal in India

Authorities in India's Uttar Pradesh state have ordered an investigation into the killing of 31 blackbucks by stray dogs at a zoological park in the city of Kanpur.

Seven employees, including the director of the zoo, have been suspended in connection with the incident.

Reports say a pack of stray dogs entered the zoo on Saturday night and attacked the blackbucks.

The blackbuck is a protected species of small antelope in India.

A zoo official said the dogs had possibly entered the zoo through a gap in the boundary wall which was broken.

"The wall had fallen down and was being repaired. But it appears it hadn't been fixed properly," chief wildlife officer Rupak De told the BBC.

The dogs attacked the blackbuck's enclosure that was closest to the wall.

Experts say the small antelopes are "very nervous by nature".

"When they were attacked, they tried to escape but their enclosure was shut. Some were then killed by the dogs, many were injured, while others died of heart-attacks brought on by shock," Mr De said.

Reports say zoo workers found two dogs eating the carcasses of blackbucks on Sunday morning.

The zoo's doctor ordered the guards to kill the dogs.

Officials say they are treating the incident very seriously as blackbucks are endangered animals in India.

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