Four female elephants have died within a gap of 12 days inside the Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha’s Kalahandi district.
Forest Department officials suspect that the elephants may have been suffering from haemorrhage septicaemia. With elephant deaths likely to go up, a team of veterinary scientists are rushing to Kalahandi district on Friday.
“Four female elephants died along the Gusrigudi Naalah in the Karalapat Reserve Forest of Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary of Kalahandi South Division. On preliminary analysis and testing, the veterinary team suspects it to be a case of haemorrhage septicaemia,” said T. Ashok Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer.
Indramani Nath, a veterinarian with the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology, said haemorrhage septicaemia is a contagious bacterial disease. Animals that come in contact with infected water or soil contract the disease in which respiratory tracts and lungs are affected, leading to severe pneumonia. Haemorrhage septicaemia is generally observed in the pre- and post-monsoon period, he said.
Mr. Kumar pointed out that the samples from elephant carcasses had been sent to the laboratory at the Centre for Wildlife Health, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubaneswar.
“About 17 to 20 elephants in two herds were roaming inside Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary. We have deployed about 80 field staff to keep the herd separated and keep them away from the Gusrigudi Naalah water body,” he said.
Mr. Kumar said the division had not found any other dead wild animals in the sanctuary.
As a precautionary step, cattle immunisation had been carried out in Karlapat, Badtikraguda, Tentulipadar, Lilingpadar and Jakam villages. Stagnant water has been treated with bleaching powder to avoid further infections. The first elephant death was reported around February 1.
Meanwhile, the Odisha Police’s Special Task Force (STF) has seized three tusks from Jajpur district on Friday. With this, a total of five tusks have been seized from wildlife smuggling rackets within a week.
“On the basis of reliable information on the sale of elephant tusks by wildlife offenders, the STF team conducted a raid at Kabatbandha Chhak near Brahmani Bridge under Jajpur district. Three accused have been arrested and equal numbers of elephant tusks have been seized from their possession. The accused persons could not produce any satisfactory explanation for the possession of the tusks,” said STF Deputy Inspector General Jai Narayan Pankaj.
On Monday, two tusks and the skin of a leopard were seized by the STF in Keonjhar district.