ROURKELA: Rise in deaths of elephants in the recent past has emerged as a cause of concern for forest officials in Sundargarh district.What’s more worrying for the Forest department is the death of three elephant calves over a span of two months due to infection. Sources said a male elephant calf, aged four years, died on Saturday inside the remote Kunjar forest of Sol range in Gurundia block of Bonai Forest Division (BFD). While autopsy report is awaited, it is suspected that the baby elephant, after being abandoned by its herd, died of bacterial infection. In the last two months, two other calves had died due to infection at Kelo and Kunjar forests of Jarda range of Gurundia in BFD.
Bonai Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) NSJP Singh said after the second death at Kunjar, they sought help of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) which, based on pathological investigation, attributed the death to bacterial infection. He said before its death, the third calf had confined itself to a radius of 2 to 3 km, not taking food and was getting weak with similar symptoms. He said as a corrective measure, cattle of peripheral villages moving into adjacent forests would be immunised.
Regional Chief Conservator of Forest (RCCF) Lingaraj Otta said they are keeping a strict watch on the situation and analysing the possible reasons.