Jumbo die-off triggers massive exercise by Forest department to contain bacteria spread

by Kalahandi Info
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Acting Chief Wildlife Warden Shashi Paul too rushed to Kalahandi to monitor the situation on ground on Sunday.

BHAWANIPATNA/BHUBANESWAR: The Wildlife Wing of the Forest department has mounted a massive exercise to contain the killing spree of hemorrhagic septicemia which has claimed six elephants in two weeks in Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary of Kalahandi district.

Faced with the first and single-biggest elephant die-off in the wild in the State, the Wildlife Wing moved teams to segregate other herds in the neighbouring forest pockets. It employed drones in two forest beats of Karlapat range to keep a watch on the jumbos while generating visuals from camera traps for better surveillance.

Acting Chief Wildlife Warden Shashi Paul too rushed to Kalahandi to monitor the situation on ground on Sunday.

There are two herds of about eight to nine members in the range but their location is divided by a road. Forest staff is trying to keep the unimpacted group away from the one which is hit by the bacterial disease caused by Pasteurella Multocida. 

All the six dead elephants  are female. “Since female elephants band together in a herd, they seem to have been hit by the bacterial disease. Our first effort is to contain the spread while keeping a close watch on water bodies which may have been infected,” Paul told The New Indian Express.

A team from Animal Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) and another from Directorate of Veterinary Services are on their way. “We are also seeking advice from senior veterinary expert from Assam KK Sharma in this regard,” the Chief Wildlife Warden said.

Efforts are also on to bury some of the small water bodies while disinfecting the bigger ones which may have hosted the bacteria. Centre for Wildlife Health (CWH) coordinator and Head of Department of Preventive Medicine at OUAT Dr Niranjan Sahu who visited the  sanctuary for an on-spot review of the situation said the bacterial disease is not new and is reported throughout the year from different parts of the county. However, this is for the first time that Odisha has reported such a single event.

On many occasions cattle are infected by the disease if not vaccinated twice a year – pre and post-monsoon.

“From containing the spread to treatment, everything is standardised for prevention of the disease and we are well prepared for domestic spread. The challenge, however, is due to its outbreak in the wild,” Sahu said and added that a meeting with the wildlife officials and veterinarians was convened on Saturday to work out measures. 

Vaccination of domestic cattle in the villages located inside the sanctuary and sanitisation is in progress by veterinary staff with support from the forest staff. Villagers have been alerted on the matter. A major challenge for forest officials on the field is to keep infected elephant herd from coming in contact with other herds and animals.

​DFO Kalahandi South Division Ashok Kumar and his team and veterinary team are camping in the area to strengthen surveillance measures.

Apart from elephants, death of no other animal species inside the sanctuary has been reported so far.

Source: Newindianexpress

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