One more elephant in Odisha dies of suspected herpes virus, toll rises to 5
Herpes virus causes internal haemorrhage which kills the animals.
Just over a week after four elephants in Nandankanan Zoological Park of Bhubaneswar fell to the deadly elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus in a span of a month, another female elephant from nearby Chandaka Dampada sanctuary died of the same infection on Monday.
Odisha forest officials said on September 26, the 12-year-old elephant from the sanctuary on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar was found sick near Banra village of Banki block. Though the elephant did not show symptoms of herpes attack, it was being treated by experts of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology and an elephant expert from Assam over suspected herpes infection.
“Though the elephant was under treatment over suspected herpes virus attack, we are yet to ascertain the exact cause as the blood sample report is yet to be received. We would do post mortem of the animal on Tuesday and that may throw some light on the likely cause of death,” said Chandaka Dampara divisional forest officer Kedar Kumar Swain.
In a month till September 20, four sub-adult elephants in Nandankanan zoo have died of herpes virus. On September 19 night, sub-adult female elephant Gouri, which was infected by the deadly disease, had died while undergoing treatment at the zoo. Before her, another female elephant Kamala, 10-year-old male elephant Chandan and female elephant Julie had succumbed to the virus that causes internal haemorrhage.
A team of experts from Central Zoo Aurhority which visited the zoo last week had confirmed all the four elephant at Nandankanan zoo fell to herpes virus attack. CZA member secretary SP Yadav and chief of national herpes project, Gourang Mahato, who visited the zoo said the herpes deaths were a learning lesson for the entire country because nowhere in captivity, elephants have died because of the disease.
Meanwhile, a 15-year-old elephant in a forest of Keonjhar district was reported sick with officials suspecting it to be suffering from herpes. The elephant was spotted by a team of forest officials at Sumath village under Bansapal block in Keonjhar district. Assistant Conservator of Forest, Ghanashyama Mahanta said, ”We are trying to assess its condition. A specialised team from Similipal is on the way to further examine the health of the elephant.”
After the death of the fifth elephant, wildlife conservationist Biswjit Mohanty alleged on Monday that his warning in 2017 about possible herpes outbreak in Odisha forests was ignored by the state’s forest and wildlife officials.
Meanwhile, officials of Nandankanan zoo said the five-year-old white tiger ‘Subhranshu’ that had stopped taking food for about a week, has started recovering. “We suspected it to be suffering from some sort of liver disease. But it is now much better,” said deputy director of the zoo, Jayant Das.