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Nandankanan Elephant Deaths 'Unfortunate', Says Minister

21 September 2019

Debashish Maharana

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha on Saturday described the continuing death of elephants at Nandankanan Zoological Park on the outskirts of the Capital city due to suspected deadly herpes virus attack as 'unfortunate'.

"This is unfortunate. Around four elephants in Nandankanan have died due to herpes virus affliction. This virus mainly attacks elephants in the age group of 01-15 years," said Arukha briefing newsmen here.

Informing that Nandankanan Zoo had eight elephants and four out of them have succumbed to the deadly virus, the Minister said,"There is no known or proven method for treatment against this virus. Every day, blood samples are being collected and sent to OUAT for testing.That apart, blood samples have been also sent to National Project on EEHP at Guwahati in Assam for testing."

That apart, veterinarians Dr G Mahato of Assam and  Dr Arun Kazaria of Kerala, who are considered experts in treating elephants have been consulted and on their advice anti-viral drops have been administered to the elephants at Nandankanan, he added.

"Yesterday I have spoken to the Director and Deputy Director of Nandankanan Zoo and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests for roping in experts from outside at the earliest to secure the lives of the remaining four elephants,"Arukha said.

The remaining elephants at the zoo have been isolated to prevent the spread of infection, he added.

Chairman of Nandankanan Zoological Park's Technical Committee S K Ray has informed that the zoo authorities are in constant touch with experts in foreign countries and in India as well and added that this infection had never been reported in the State, this is the first time that herpes virus infection has been detected.

Bikram Keshari Arukha, Minister, Forest and Environment, Odisha

S K Ray, Chairman, Technical Committee, Nandankanan Zoological Park