GUWAHATI, June 15 � Sujata Gogoi, known to many as the State Zoo�s foster mother to abandoned young animals, breathed her last at 9.20 this morning. Wife of Zoo veterinarian Dr Bijoy Gogoi, she along with her husband was involved in hand rearing several animals, birds and reptiles, which were later released in the wild or housed in the State Zoo.
Born in 1963 at Silpukhuri, she did her schooling and college education in Guwahati. In her youth she was a keen guitarist and active in the cultural sphere.
Following her marriage with Dr Gogoi, she became acquainted with care for wildlife and started hand-rearing abandoned young animals. Since 2004 she and Dr Gogoi were able to rear several species of wildlife, including barking deer, civet, jungle cat, and leopard, among others.
She received commendation from several experts for successfully hand-rearing a four-day-old female stump-tailed macaque after her mother had passed away. Christened �Dhoon Dhoon�, the macaque became particularly well-known as there was no precedent of such an animal being raised by a human. The Kyoto University�s Primate Research Centre subsequently acquired the details relating to Dhoon Dhoon�s initial upbringing.
During the cremation at Nabagraha Smashan today, Sujata�s admirers described her death as a loss that would be difficult to fill. �She and Dr Gogoi were a team, and they were absolutely dedicated in caring for young animals�� said a keeper of the Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden.
Her death has been condoled by a number of individuals and conservation groups, including Aaranyak and Wildlife Trust of India.