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Death of Wild Elephants Causes Concern

A series of deaths of elephants, most of them tuskers, in the forests of Mysore is causing concern among animal lovers and Forest Department officials. So far five elephants, including four tuskers, have died and a few more are reported to be sick in the Bandipur forest, famous for wild elephants. The series of deaths of the jumbos, between 15 and 20 years of age, have raised suspicion of outbreak of an epidemic disease in the forest region. However, experts are yet to confirm the outbreak of the epidemic.

The death of the first elephant under mysterious circumstances was reported on January 20. The 15-year-old tusker was found dead at Chengaudanahalli in Hediyala forest range. Two days later another elephant died in the same forest range. Both the elephants had died under similar circumstances. They had suffered mouth injuries at the time of their death. Subsequently, three more elephants have died in the same forest area raising apprehension of a mysterious disease among the elephants. The pachyderms had become weak and died while wandering near the agricultural fields and open areas, adjacent to the forest. Three more elephants are said to have taken ill and wandering in the wild. As they are unable to eat and writhing in pain, they have become weak, it is reported.

The Forest officials are awaiting post-mortem report from experts from Bangalore. Though for the time being they are ruling out the outbreak of an epidemic, the post-mortem report should reveal the cause for the death of the elephants during the last few days. Cattle enter this forest area from the neighbouring villages and if an epidemic has broken out in the forest it could spread to the cattle in the villages too, it is apprehended. A similar disease a few years ago had taken a heavy toll of cattle in the region. In order to avoid the wild animals venturing into their agricultural lands, farmers have taken to electric fencing their lands. They some times camouflage explosives in fodder. This they do to save their crops and lives, though the Forest Department compensates for the loss.

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