Tamil Nadu

Wild elephant dies of anthrax

Anthrax has claimed the life of a wild elephant in a reserve forest area near Anaikatti in Coimbatore district, the Forest Department said on Monday.

The blood smear samples collected from the carcass had the presence of Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax, senior officials said.

With the test confirming the death by anthrax, the Forest and Animal Husbandry Departments will take measures to contain the spread of the infection.

The carcass of the female elephant, aged 13-15, was spotted by a patrol team in a forest area of the Anaikatti central beat of the Thudiyalur section of the Coimbatore forest range.

A government veterinarian lifted the blood smear samples. Blood oozed from the anus and the mouth in a possible indication of anthrax infection.

A. Sukumar, Forest Veterinary Officer, Coimbatore Forest Division, said the carcass would be destroyed on Tuesday, by deep burial or cremation, to prevent the spread of the infection.

The Department has asked frontline workers to monitor other elephants which had been roaming with the deceased elephant.

I. Anwardeen, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Coimbatore Circle), said the Coimbatore Forest Division would check with Kerala’s Forest Department whether any case of anthrax was reported in that State recently because Anaikatti is located between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Anthrax is endemic to elephant habitats. Cross-infection may happen as head of cattle and wild animals use the same grazing areas and waterbodies on forest fringes.

The Animal Husbandry Department will conduct vaccination of head of cattle and goats in villages surrounding the forest area where the elephant was found dead. The Animal Disease Intelligence Unit, Coimbatore, is monitoring the situation.

District Forest Officer D. Venkatesh said four elephants had died of anthrax in the Coimbatore Forest Division in the past 10 years, and the last death was reported in December 2016.


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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 3:19:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/wild-elephant-dies-of-anthrax/article35291870.ece

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