Another female elephant wasfound dead near a waterbody at Karlapat Wildlife sanctuary inOdishas Kalahandi district, a Forest official said.
With the latest jumbo death, six elephants fivefemale and a calf – have died at Karlapat Wildlife sanctuarywithin 14 days of this month, the official said.
According to the 2018 census the sanctuary had 17elephants.
Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Kalahandi SouthDivision Ashok Kumar and his team and veterinary doctors arecamping in the area undertaking surveillance. “The death ofelephants is due to Haemorrhage Septicemia (HS),” the DFOsaid.
However, the DFO said that there was no such reportabout the death of other animals in the sanctuary and also thecattle entering the forest from nearby villages.
Coordinator from Centre for Wildlife Health, OUAT(Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology),Bhubaneswar, Niranjan Sahu after visiting Karlapat sanctuarysaid: “The death of elephants is believed to be by HS. Thepostmortem report and laboratory report of one dead elephantis hinting at HS (Haemorrhage Septicemia).
Cattle do get infected by HS if not vaccinated, Sahusaid, adding that this is perhaps the first incident whereelephants are also infected with HS.
He said vaccination of domesticated cattle in thevillages located inside the sanctuary and sanitization is inprogress by veterinary staff supported by forest staff.
Chief District Veterinary Officer (CDVO) Dr ChaitanyaSethi said that as of now there is no reported death ofdomesticated cattle in the area due to HS. During Octoberthere was vaccination but in view of the present scenariofurther vaccination cover is in progress by veterinary staffnow.
Local people and wildlife lovers, however, do not takethe incident lightly. Pramod Kumar Singhdeo, a local fromKarlapat belonging to the erstwhile Zamindar family ofKarlapat and having in-depth knowledge on the flora fauna ofthe locality, said: “The forest department has dug salt pondsin different places to provide salted drinking water to thewild animals.” The possibility of poachers poisoning some ponds tokill wild animals cannot be ruled out, he said demanding aninvestigation into the matter.
“The water from the salt ponds should be sent forlaboratory analysis to ascertain the fact. It may also happenthat the cattle infected with HS might have transmittedinfection in the salt pond which affected the elephants also,”he said.
However, forest department officials rejected thesecond argument saying that no domestic cattle is found tohave the HS infection.
Another local person claimed that though the forestdepartment had earlier installed CCTV Cameras in several spotsto monitor movement of wild animals, those were removed forunknown reasons.
Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over 175 squarekilometre area and is famous for lush green dry deciduousforest, 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 andPangolin.
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 arefound in the sanctuary.
The forest consists of flora like Sal, Bija, Asan,Harida, Amala, Bahada and Bamboo and varieties of medicinalplants.
This sanctuary was first notified in 1969 by theconservator of Forest and was formally notified under the WildLife Protection Act of 1972 in 1992. The undulated topographyof the sanctuary, with hills, valleys and perennial streamsincluding Sagada river and its tributaries with deep waterpools in places gives it a unique charm, officials said.
There are several small and big waterfalls inside thesanctuary like Phurlijharan, Ghusrigudi, Dumnijhola,Kamalajharan, Koyirupa, Kuang and Raja Rani.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)