Jumbo death in Kapilas zoo sparks concern

Herpes scare

Jumbo death in Kapilas zoo sparks concern

Dhenkanal: The death of a male pachyderm ‘Hero’ under unnatural circumstances at Kapilas Elephant Rescue centre has sparked concern on spread of herpes virus among the animals in the zoo, a report said.

This has left the forest officials worried over the safety of the remaining four elephants in the zoo.  The zoo has been left with four elephants Kartik, Uma, Chandu and Padma after the death of the male jumbo Hero.  The spread of herpes virus in the zoo despite a series of safety measures and restrictions has sparked concerns among the residents in the locality.

The matter came to the fore after veterinarians conducted a post-mortem of the animal carcass and sent its samples to Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) in Bhubaneswar.

An examination at OUAT laboratory confirmed the presence of herpes virus in the animal carcass which died in the zoo. The examination report stated that young pachyderms are likely to get infected with Herpes virus more than their aged counterparts.

On receipt of the report, the forest department has become more concerned about the safety of the female jumbo ‘Padma’, 18 months, which was rescued from Berhampur forest region and rehabilitated in the Kapilas zoo. Padma has been kept in isolation while the rest of the elephants were given anti-viral treatment.

When contacted, Prakash Chand Gogineni, divisional forest officer (DFO) said the report has confirmed the death of ‘Hero’ due to herpes virus.   He said they are now concerned about Padma and the rest of the jumbos.

Notably, an examination of all the elephants in the zoo regarding the presence of herpes virus in January had come out negative. However, the sudden death of Hero due to herpes virus has left them worried. He added that a close watch is being kept on all the jumbos in the zoo.

PNN