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Mizoram Serow deaths: Officials tentatively blame particular kind of skin disease

Forest officials in Mizoram have tentatively concluded that the reason behind the mysterious deaths of more than two dozen Himalayan Serows across Mizoram in the past five months may be sarcoptic mange, a skin disease caused by a particular kind of mites.

Written by Adam Halliday | Aizawl |
August 12, 2015 5:24:55 pm

Forest officials in Mizoram have tentatively concluded that the reason behind the mysterious deaths of more than two dozen Himalayan Serows across Mizoram in the past five months may be sarcoptic mange, a skin disease caused by a particular kind of mites.

Ongoing investigations by the Forest Department suggests as many as 28 Himalayan Serows, the state animal and a schedule 1 protected species, have been found dead or too weak to flee from humans who killed them for their meat.

Himalayan Serows are small antelope-like animals classified as “near-threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a scientific body.

Officials have been combing three separate regions in the state’s west and north, interviewing villagers who have given different accounts of sightings of Serows with terrible skin infections, as well as a few who confessed to killing these for their meat.

“From whatever participatory epidemiological assessment we have been able to conduct so far, we believe the cause of these deaths is sarcoptic mange,” Chief Wildlife Warden Liandawla told The Indian Express.

“The skin disease is usually prevalent in the dry season and exacerbates in the wet season. The current belief is that these Serows have become weak from months of itchy infection that renders them unable to forage as much as they used to,” he explained.

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