Jeevan Chinnappa

Three elephants have died in one week in Kodagu

Deputy Conservator of Forests lends credence

to the disease theory

‘Forests will be searched for carcasses of animals to know whether disease is prevalent’

MALDARE (KODAGU DISTRICT): The deaths of three elephants, including two calves, in the past week in Kodagu have raised doubts that some disease may be responsible.

Foot-and-mouth disease is being suspected as the probable cause of the deaths.

A decomposed carcass of a two-year-old female calf was found just 10 m into the forest beside the Siddapura-Maldare-Mysore road. This is the second elephant death in Kodagu in one week. The first one was reported in the Thithimathi range of the Nagarahole National Park six days ago.

Srinivas, veterinarian, who arrived from Hunsur to conduct the post-mortem, was unable to ascertain the cause of death as the carcass had decomposed. None of the organs of the animal could be retrieved, Dr. Srinivas said.

He said he was rushing to Poojekal area of the national park to conduct post-mortem of an elephant calf found dead there on Saturday. An elephant had died under mysterious circumstances at Veeranahosalli on the Mysore side of the national park two weeks ago, Dr. Srinivas said.

Deputy Conservator of Forests B.B. Mallesh, who visited the spot along with Assistant Conservator of Forests Vijaya Kumar, lent credence to the disease theory.

He said the forests would be searched for carcasses of animals, particularly ungulates, to know whether disease was prevalent.

Mr. Mallesh ruled out an accident as the cause of death of the calf. He confirmed that foot-and-mouth disease could affect elephants also. Forest Department staff later burnt the carcass of the animal in a pit.

Bison found dead

Assistant Conservator of Forests, Thithimathi range, Alexander, who was at the spot, said a bison had also died a few days ago in the range. The carcass was noticed after it was bloated and decomposed. He said that perambulation of forests was on to look for another sick bison, which was noticed by Thithimathi Range Forest Officer Monnappa and team a few days ago. He too suspected that some disease could have caused the deaths of both elephants and the bison.

Dr. Srinivas said “ring vaccination” of domestic cattle should have taken place during October and November in the forest fringe areas of the national park. Foot-and-mouth disease spreads from cattle when they venture into forests to graze and drink water. Wild animals contract the disease while grazing or drinking water in the same area.

Vaccination

Deputy Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services, Kodagu, D.D. Krishnamurthy told The Hindu that three rounds of vaccination for foot-and-mouth disease were done in and around Maldare area on August 25, August 29 and September 9. The effect of the vaccination would last for one year, he added.

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