23 lions die of CDV, PPRV in Gir Forest, C’garh on alert

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Oct 2018 11:03:07


By Roshan Chachane,


Chhattisgarh Forest Department has sounded alarm to deal with the threats of Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) and Peste Des Petits Ruminant Virus (PPRV) following the deaths of 23 lions in 20 days caused by these viruses in Gir Forest of Gujarat. Replying to the query of The Hitavada, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Kaushalendra Singh told they already take cattle immunisation camp in coordination with the Veterinary Department as and whenever the need arises.

Such immunisation camps are held according to case and whenever they feel that there could be an outbreak near National Parks and Sanctuaries. There is a robust system in place. They are keeping watch on Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan as any such outbreak has to pass through these States before reaching Chhattisgarh.

Himalayan Explorers, an NGO working the villages and hamlets located in and around the tiger reserves, national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, protracted areas, buffer zones and wildlife corridors of Central India, has pointed out the stray cattle and goat population as the threat to wildlife. Before such calamities, which resulted in the death of 23 lions in the Gir, there is a dire need to take preventive measures to save the tigers.

Himalayan Explorers President Avril Khambatta Thakur told, they have made observations and thereafter suggestions for preventive measures.  Huge population of unproductive cattle and goats around protected forests with minimum to no veterinary assistance. The FMD vaccination drive carried out by the Forest Department only covers cattle and not the sheep and goats, which defeats the purpose of controlling the spread of FMD among the wild herbivores, since the PPRV belongs to the same species of morbillivirus as CDV, PPRV vaccination of the sheep and goats is a must.

NGO has put many suggestions such as mass vaccination of sheep and goats, proper quarantine of sheep and goats migrating from Gujarat and Rajasthan to Maharashtra, PPRV vaccination must be carried out under the supervision of qualified veterinary doctors and BGO representatives, a proper cold chain to ensure the 100 percent efficacy of PPRV vaccine, collection of random serum samples from vaccinated herds after completion of vaccination and to be tested for antibodies, PPRV can be totally eradicated with proper vaccination and maintenance of cold chain since life span of these animals isn’t beyond 12 years and vaccine also remains effective for the same period, PPRV remains dormant in cattle without showing any pathological symptoms and later transfer to canines if they prey on infected cattle, so it is must to vaccine cattle, mass vaccination of domestic dogs against rabies and CDV in villages abutting protected forests.

Furthermore, there is need to run tick control programmes, mass castration of bulls to prevent to check cattle population, mass hybridisation of the unproductive cattle to increase milk yield so as to boost the village economy, which will help in stall feeding and reducing the pressure on the forest grass land, posting of a graduate veterinary doctor at Kolitmara (to take care of all the related issue in the villages falling in the Pench west) and at Piparia (To take care of all the related issue in the villages falling in the Pench East), proper coordination between the Forest Department and the Animal Husbandry Department, because their interests are contradictory, regular visits of LDO (Extension) Saoner and Ramtek in the villages falling at the forest of their respective jurisdiction, a mobile veterinary dispensary to cater the villages in and around the protected forests, Himalayan Explorers had been carrying out the FMD and anti-rabies programme at the villages of Pench East and Pench West, NNTR, and Umred Karandla and Bor Tiger Reserve Corridor with resistance from the para-veterinary staff and Himalayan Explorers has a big volunteer base of veterinary graduates and PG students to take up the task of mass vaccination, and if the para-veterinary staff is out the same with the forest department organization’s volunteers can supervise and assist them to ensure 100 percent flawless vaccination.