Central Team Report on Odisha Elephant Deaths

In the month of January-February six elephants died at the Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary in Kalahandi. Following that, a central team was set up by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The team in its preliminary report highlighted that, the elephants died because of haemorrhagic septicaemia which is caused by bacteria Pastuerella multoceda.

Highlights

  • The report further highlights that, the elephants might have contracted the bacteria from cattle residing at Tentulipada village.
  • Tentulipada village is a small hamlet of 12 households in Odisha.
  • The team had conducted the post-mortems and RNA extraction tests at the Orissa Veterinary College to come to the conclusion however, samples have been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly, UP for final confirmation.
  • The elephants are supposed to be died in between January 29 and February 14, 2021. Their carcasses found near water bodies. A total of seven elephants comprising of five adults and two calves died and all of them were females.
  • Preliminary tests confirm that, all of them had very high levels of Pastuerella multoceda.

Pasteurella multocida

It is a Gram-negative, nonmotile, penicillin-sensitive coccobacillus that belongs to the family Pasteurellaceae. Strains of this species are classified into five serogroups namely A, B, D, E, F. they have subdivided into fiver groups on the basis of capsular composition and 16 somatic serovars. This germ causes several diseases in the mammals and birds. Some of the diseases include fowl cholera in poultry, bovine hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle & buffalo and atrophic rhinitis in pigs. It also causes a zoonotic infection in humans because of bites or scratches from domestic pets. Mammals such as domestic cats & dogs and birds harbour it under their normal respiratory microbiota.

Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary

This wildlife sanctuary is located in Kalahandi district which is a popular tourist attraction of Odisha in India. It is located at this distance of 15 km from Bhawani Patna (district headquarters). It covers an area of 175 square kilometres. It lies in the Eastern Highlands moist deciduous forests.  The sanctuary is home to leopard, tiger, nilgai, sambar, mouse deer, barking deer etc.

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