A failure to conduct a thorough probe of different strains of Herpes virus in elephants may rob Kerala’s forests of all baby elephants, warns a state forest department veterinarian.

The herpes virus that killed 26 elephants over the past 10 years, mostly young ones, both in the wild and captive, had different strains depending on the region they were in like Munnar, Wayanad and Nilambur, the Times of India reports.

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In a paper titled `Impact of diseases in wildlife conservation’ at the sixth international conference on NextGen Genomics, Biology , Bioinformatics and Technologies (NGBT) in Kochi, veterinarian Arun Zachariah said that this information came when a full DNA sequencing of the virus found in the elephants was done and analysed. “We are now doing a detailed analysis of the genetic profile of the virus,” he added.

He said the animals died within 48 hours of contracting the virus. “We spent several days monitoring the animals in the wild and realized that the virus was oozing out in the trunk leaks of adult elephants which infected the young ones in the herd. We are trying to understand the relation between the three parameters, pathogen (virus), host (elephants) and environment (climate), and what is the causative trigger,” he said.


Forest officials in India’s Uttar Pradesh have confirmed a new nesting and breeding colony of Sarus Cranes in Etawah, around 300 km from Delhi.

More than a dozen nests, containing two chicks each of the Sarus, which is incidentally the state bird, have been sighted by forest department personnel, ornithologists and wildlife activists in the wetlands and paddy fields of Etawah and Mainpuri districts, the Times of India reports.

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This has been the first sighting of nesting and breeding of the bird in Etawah and Mainpuri, Times of India reported, citing forest officials.

“The figure of the number of nests may increase. The counting process of nests is still on as the nesting and breeding season of World’s tallest bird is not yet over,” said divisional forest officer Kanhaiya Patel.


One person’s misery is another person’s joy. So it holds true for the peafowls in Tamil Nadu’s Chennimalai that have thrived over the years as the number of foxes have dwindled in the region.

Change in landscape and disappearance of bushes that provided a safe cover to foxes is one of the main reasons for the drop in number of the omnivorous mammals in the area, writes The Hindu’s R. Krishnamoorthy.

 

Peacock
Peacock, the vehicle of Hindu god Kartikeya, is also India’s National Bird; Photo by M. Karthikeyan

“Till a decade ago, both fox and peafowl used to be hunted down by Narikurava community,” according to The Hindu.