New Delhi: The Delhi Zoo has started the process of transferring surplus herbivores to nearby facilities through exchange programmes in an attempt to reduce the number of animal deaths, an official here said on Tuesday. “The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has permitted the zoo to shift surplus herbivores, including blackbuck, spotted deer, nilgai and sambhar, to the nearby zoos. This will help reduce the number of animal deaths to a great extent,” the official said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThis move comes after a recent report revealed that 245 animals had died in the zoo just between April 2018 to June 2019, which had prompted zoo authorities here to order an assessment of these deaths. “One of the major reasons for the higher number of animal deaths in the zoo is infighting and premature births. According to CZA guidelines, a large zoo should keep 20 animals of a particular species, whereas we have around 250 blackbucks, 150 spotted deer, 60 sambhar deer and 40 nilgai,” he said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsThe staff keep the animals segregated but that is not a permanent solution to prevent deaths due to infighting, he said. The CZA has allowed the Delhi zoo to “shift” 120 blackbucks, for now, the official said. Another reason for such high animal mortality is that the veterinary officer is “incompetent”, the official alleged, adding that though Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo had recommended suspension of the officer, no action has been taken yet. A high-level committee probing allegations of mismanagement at the zoo had earlier recommended disciplinary action against the veterinary officer.