THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One more elephant calf died at the elephant rehabilitation centre at Kottur in Thiruvananthapuram early Tuesday. The six-year-old male elephant named Arjun was found dead at his enclosure around 12 midnight. The preliminary findings is that the calf died due to the herpes viral infection.
Last week, a one-and-half year old calf named Sreekutty died of a similar infection.
According to JR Ani, wildlife warden, the situation is serious as the Herpes is a contagious disease.
"Arjun was kept in an enclosure which is quite far away from where Sreekutty was kept. However, it was on the same premises. At present, nine calves are remaining in the centre and we suspect all the elephants might have contracted the infection. The elephants which are less than the age of 10 are highly vulnerable to Herpes. Amina, a female elephant which was kept near Sreekutty is also infected. So we are cautious enough and give preventive medicication to the elder elephants while other medicines to the infected. The elder elephants are only carriers. So the mortality rate is high for calves," he said.
Forest Minister AK Saseendran and Chief Wildlife warden will have a meeting on Tuesday to discuss on further measures to be taken. The post-mortem examination will be conducted at noon by the veterinary surgeons from the centre.