Suspected viral infection kills wild elephants in Kerala

April 28th, 2008 - 8:56 pm ICT by admin  

Kalpetta (Kerala), April 28 (IANS) A suspected case of viral disease has resulted in the death of two wild elephants in the Wayanad district in Kerala in the last one month. The latest incident was reported from Chithalayam forest range in the district Saturday.

“A nine-month-old calf was found in the forest in a very weak condition Friday. The elephant herd was seen trying to help the calf stand upright. Though we tried to help the calf, the herd did not allow us to approach. The next day the calf died,” forest range officer T. Pradeep told IANS Monday.

The Chithalayam forest range, 50 km from the district headquarters Kalpetta, borders the Bandipur sanctuary in Karnataka.

“We did not find any external injuries like snake bite on the carcass,” he said. A month earlier a nine-year-old elephant was found dead in the same forest range.

According to officials, elephants get stressed and become susceptible to diseases during summer when water and fodder are in short supply.

Veterinary experts who examined the carcasses suspect that the deaths were caused by viral infection.

“There are similarities in both cases. It is a haemorrhagic disease. We are yet to confirm the cause of death. The body parts have been sent for examination. We will get the results in two to three weeks’ time,” said veterinary surgeon Arun Zachariah.

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