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Forest dept set to de-worm wild jumbos in Kovai division (India)

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Forest dept set to de-worm wild jumbos in Kovai division (India)

COIMBATORE: The forest department is embarking on a precautionary drive to de-worm wild elephants in the forest divisions of Coimbatore to ensure that they do not succumb to gastrointestinal infections. The decision was taken at a recent high-level meeting of officials after it was pointed out that nearly a fourth of elephant deaths in the region were due to worm and parasite infection in the abdominal tract. "We had about 12 elephant deaths in the wild during the last two years," said V T Kandasamy, conservator of forests, Coimbatore circle.

The forest department has identified 15 waterholes frequented by the elephants to set up salt licks, which is an artificial formation of mineral salt. De-worming pellets will be put in these salt licks so that it is consumed by the animal. "Elephants are very sensitive to these kinds of infections in the wild. It is passed on from infected water and infected dung of the animals," said Dr N S Manoharan, forest veterinarian, Coimbatore.

The department had earlier conducted a detailed investigation into cases of elephant mortality in the wild. During the autopsy of some of the jumbos, two to three kilograms of worms were found inside their intestinal tract. "It is similar to tape worm infection in humans. But in the wild, if it is left untreated and unattended, it could become aggravated and even cause the death of the animal," Manoharan added. If the infection becomes severe, the affected elephant has to be tranquillised and treated with great care.

Grass patches and shrubbery near and around the identified waterholes will be set afire in summer to destroy eggs of the parasites and worms as a precautionary measure to sanitize the area.

Binoy Valsan, Times of India

December 21, 2011

See online : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/...


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