Five elephants died inside the Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary in the Indian state of Odisha within a gap of 13 days, all their carcasses were found near water bodies.
Officials suspect the elephant deaths were due to some bacterial infection. “The water bodies in the sanctuary may have been infected,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Sashi Pal said.
Officials have collected water samples for forensic analysis and were treating water with chemicals to avoid further spread.
Nearby villagers were alerted to not let loose their cattle inside the forest as it is suspected that the water bodies may be contaminated.
The first death was reported on February 1 when carcass of a jumbo was found near Tentulipada village inside the sanctuary. The latest death was reported on Saturday.
Post-mortem examination of the first death revealed that the pachyderm was pregnant. It added that the jumbo suffered haemorrhage septicaemia (HS).
Heamorrhagic Septicaemia commonly known as Gal-Ghotu is an acute infectious disease of cattle, sheep and other animals. In many Asian countries HS disease outbreaks mostly occur during the climatic conditions, typically during monsoons. Its mortality rate is high in infected animals.
Forest officials were directed to conduct a field survey and track elephant herds.
The 175 square kilometre Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary is home to elephants, tigers, leopards, sambars, barking deer, mouse deer, a wide variety of birds like green munia, great eared-nightjar, and various types of reptiles.