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Six elephants die in 14 days in Odisha sanctuary; CM asks authorities to take steps

Expressing concern over the series of pachyderm deaths, the CM directed the departments of Forest and Environment and Animal Resources to consult experts to stop further death of jumbos.

By: PTI | Bhawanipatna |
February 16, 2021 8:42:38 am
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. (Express Photo: Prem Nath Pandey, File)

After six elephants died in just 14 days at Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha’s Kalahandi district, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday asked the authorities to take immediate measures to stop the fatalities.

One more female elephant was found dead near a waterbody in the Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary, a forest official said.

Earlier, four female pachyderms and a calf have died there since February 1.

According to the 2018 census the sanctuary had 17 elephants.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Kalahandi South Division Ashok Kumar and his team and veterinary doctors are camping in the area undertaking surveillance.

“The death of elephants is due to Haemorrhage Septicemia (HS),” the DFO said.

However, the DFO said that there was no report of the death of other animals in the sanctuary and the cattle entering the forest from nearby villages.

Expressing concern over the series of pachyderm deaths, the chief minister directed the departments of Forest and Environment and Animal Resources to consult experts of the Odisha and outside in order to stop further death of jumbos.

During a review meeting held through video conference, Patnaik also directed the district administration of Kalahandi and the DFO to ensure vaccination of cattle in villages close to the sanctuary.

He said that all the water bodies in the sanctuary should be disinfected and water samples should be sent to labs for tests.

Official sources said that there are at least 43 water bodies in the sanctuary of which 25 have been disinfected so far.

Coordinator from Centre for Wildlife Health, OUAT (Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology), Bhubaneswar, Niranjan Sahu after visiting Karlapat sanctuary said: “The death of elephants is believed to be by HS. The postmortem report and laboratory report of one dead elephant is hinting at HS.”

Cattle get infected by HS if not vaccinated, Sahu said, adding that this is perhaps the first incident where elephants are also infected with HS.

He said vaccination of domesticated cattle in the villages located inside the sanctuary and sanitization is in progress by veterinary staff supported by forest staff.

Chief District Veterinary Officer (CDVO) Dr Chaitanya Sethi said that as of now there is no reported death of domesticated cattle in the area due to HS.

Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 175 square kilometre area and is famous for lush green dry deciduous forest, varieties of flora and fauna and animals like, elephant, leopard, Gaur, Sambar, barking deer, Indian wolf, wild dog, wild pig, sloth bear, Malbar giant squirrel and Pangolin.

This apart a variety of birds like peafowl, peacock, hornbill, Red jungle fowl, partridges, Spurfawl, Hill Myna, Brahminy kite and reptilian fauna includes Mugger, crocodile, monitor lizard, snakes both poisonous and non-poisonous are found in the sanctuary.

The forest consists of flora like Sal, Bija, Asan, Harida, Amala, Bahada and Bamboo and varieties of medicinal plants.

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