Two elephants die in west TN amid anthrax scare (Tamil Nadu, India)


Press Trust of India

Date Published

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Udhagamandalam: Two more elephants died in Coimbatore and Nilgiris districts of Tamil Nadu yesterday amid an anthrax scare triggered by the death of two other jumbos recently, officials said.

While a nine-year old male elephant died following a sudden illness in a camp in nearby Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in Nilgiris district, an elephant calf was found dead in Sirumugai forest range in Coimbatore district last morning.

Though the cause of the death of the two would be known only after post-mortem, it was suspected the elephant that died in MTR could have been suffering from anthrax, a highly infectious animal disease, prompting forest officials to take steps to shift all 23 elephants in the camp to nearby areas.

The nine-year old elephant suddenly developed dysentery early yesterday and died in the afternoon, officials said.

A 26-year-old female had died in a similar manner in the camp last month.

As a preventive measure, MTR Field Director Srinivasa Reddy has taken steps to shift the remaining elephants from MTR to camps in Bombax and Foampuravayal, MTR Deputy Director S Saravanan said.

Accordingly, 21 elephants would be moved to the camps immediately and the two aged ones would be shifted after a few days after reviewing the condition.

The death of the elephant in MTR and Sirumugai comes close on the heels of two elephants dying in Madukkarai range in neighbouring Coimbatore District after suffering from anthrax, which came to light during post-mortem.

The Coimbatore District administration has already taken steps to administer anti-anthrax vaccination to the cattle in and around Madukkarai area to prevent the spread of the disease.