African Swine Fever confirmed among wild boar in Sigur Plateau

Rohan Premkumar

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Tuesday, 3rd January 2023
Page No. 8
Chennai Print Edition

African Swine Fever (ASF) has been confirmed in wild boar populations in the Sigur Plateau, with Forest Department officials concerned about its spread after around 15 animals were found dead in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) recently.

P. Ramesh Kumar, Field Director of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, which is contiguous to the MTR, confirmed to The Hindu that samples from dead boars found in the Bandipur Reserve, which had been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) tested positive for ASF, a viral disease.

Deaths of wild boar in the Nilgiris Forest Division have also been observed for a few weeks, primarily around Manjoor in the Kundah Forest Range. Field Director of MTR D. Venkatesh said around 15 wild boar had died in the reserve recently.

“We have formed teams to search for carcasses of any wild boar to destroy them and control the spread of the disease,” he said.

Samples from the wild boar that have died in MTR have been sent to IVRI and to the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (Tanuvas) to confirm whether the animals too died from ASF, officials stated.

Officials also said ASF was not known to spread to humans or to other wildlife but was highly contagious among domestic and wild pigs. There are concerns among conservationists that ASF could decimate the wild boar population in the Sigur Plateau and in the Nilgiris Forest Division.

District Forest Officer (Nilgiris division) S. Gowtham said only a single wild boar death had been reported in the Nilgiris Forest Division the last week.

“All forest rangers have been told to report any deaths, and protocols to dispose of the carcasses appropriately will be in place,” Mr. Gowtham told The Hindu.

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