WWF, WTI, Forest dept officials reach Tawang following wildlife deaths

TAWANG, Apr 25: A team of officials from WWF, Wildlife Trust of India and State Forest and Environment Department, following reports of wildlife deaths in Tawang, carried out an exhaustive survey in various pockets of the district, where such deaths were reported.
Between April 20 and 25, five carcasses of Goral were examined at Mukto, Bongleng and Namtsering villages and findings are similar in all cases: profuse salivation, with symptoms of blindness, said DFO Tawang Dr Abdul Qayum.
Though ‘Goat Pox’ is suspected as per initial finding, the final report is expected in a day or two from Veterinary College, Guwahati, he said.
The study of wildlife began on 20 April, when death reports were received from Mukto area of Jang range in Tawang. Teams were rushed to carry out survey of the area to find out the detailed information.
On 25 April, samples were collected from different regions for geographical profiling of the disease and its possible infection to domestic animals.
A team comprising Dr Parikshit Kakoti from WWF, Dr Rinku from WTI and Dr Sorang Tadap from Itanagar Zoo, Dr T. Tashi, SVO Jang and RK Singh, Additional PCCF carried out the survey in Bongleng, Mukto, Namtsering and Gomkelleng and conducted study on Goral carcasses.
The team also had meeting with the local villagers at Namtsering. A goat infected with a disease was also examined and samples were collected.
The villagers were assured of extending all possible help by the Govt., including assistance from Department of Animal Husbandry for vaccination of domestic animals in the fringe area of the forests.
The GB of Namtsering informed the team that a large number of goats and Gorals died during 1997. The goats were reportedly brought from Assam under a Government scheme; and since then, the disease breaks out from time to time, the GB said.
The villagers were advised to not consume meat of infected animals. They are also advised to inform the Environment and Forest Department or the Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Departments, in case of any disease outbreak.
DFO Tawang Dr Abdul Qayum apprised the team about the progress made so far and death reports received from different villages.