Anthrax scare hits village near Bandipur reserve

May 15, 2018

 MYSURU: The anthrax scare has come back to haunt the wild animals of Bandipur Tiger Reserve this summer. At least ten heads of cattle died due to this disease at Shivapura villageover the past two weeks.
This small village in Gundlupet taluk, 8km from Melkammanahalli at the entrance to Bandipura Tiger Reserve, has triggered panic among villagers and wildlife activists as the disease can infect humans as well as mammals.

In 2013, there was panic among forest officers after the death of cattle on the forest fringes due to anthrax. Even though the disease did not claim any wildlife that year, in 2004, elephants had died at Nagarahole Tiger Reserve and in Sathyamangalam forest bordering the BRT tiger reserve.

The disease was first noticed after two heads of cattle belonging to Lokesh and one each of Shivamma and Subbappa died in the village. Later, six heads of cattle belonging to villagers DC Madappa, Prema, Siddaraju, Papa Shetty and Chinnabasappa died in the past week. There was one death on Monday too. All the cattle were cross-breeds. A few died in neighbouring Hundipura village.

After the disease was detected, health and animal husbandry department officials started vaccination. Gundlupet government veterinary officer Dr Mallesh said due to drought over the past few years,the disease has spread. “Villagers may have buried dead animals near the lakes. As there was rain over the past few days, bacterial spores in the soil may have spread with rain water. As cattle graze near the lake, the disease spread,” he said.