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Tragic Loss of Leopard Cubs and Deer in Bengaluru's Bannerghatta National Park

A highly contagious viral outbreak claims the lives of 7 leopard cubs and 13 deer in Bannerghatta National Park.

Tragic Loss of Leopard Cubs and Deer in Bengalurus Bannerghatta National Park

Sentinel Digital Desk

BENGALURU: In Bengaluru's Bannerghatta National Park, a devastating incident has unfolded, resulting in the loss of several precious animal lives. Seven leopard cubs fell victim to a highly contagious viral infection, while 13 deer, recently relocated to the park, succumbed to the challenges of adjusting to their new environment.

Forest officials have identified the cause of the tragedy as the Feline Panleukopenia (FP) virus, a viral disease affecting cats and caused by the feline parvovirus. This outbreak is believed to have originated from domestic cats, emphasizing the delicate balance between wildlife and human settlements.

The outbreak first emerged during a safari on August 22 and rapidly escalated, leading to the heartbreaking demise of seven leopard cubs by September 5. These cubs had been rescued from various locations across the state and could only be vaccinated once they reached the age of one.

The symptoms exhibited by the infected cubs were distressing, including vomiting blood and severe indigestion. Despite initial signs of recovery, these young leopards ultimately succumbed to the disease. Officials suspect that the virus may have been transmitted by an animal keeper who inadvertently exposed domestic cats to the vulnerable leopard cubs.

In a desperate bid to contain the virus's spread, extensive measures were implemented. Cages, housing not only leopards but also tigers and lions, underwent thorough cleaning with bleaching powder and were treated with medicinal sprays. These efforts were crucial in safeguarding the remaining animals from the deadly virus.

Simultaneously, 28 deer were introduced to Bannerghatta National Park from various locations. However, the challenges of acclimatization to their new surroundings proved insurmountable for 13 of these deer, leading to their untimely deaths.

Wildlife experts emphasized the importance of quarantine measures for animals imported from different territories. Typically, a month-long quarantine period is recommended to ensure their well-being. However, in this tragic case, the deer were placed in the safari after only ten days, a decision that ultimately had dire consequences.

A complex interplay of factors contributed to the unfortunate fate of these deer. The gender distribution among the deer population skewed toward more males, coinciding with the mating season. Unfortunately, limited space for mating activities led to a further five deer losing their lives as they struggled to find adequate space to engage in this crucial natural behavior.

This heartbreaking incident serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced in wildlife conservation. Balancing the preservation of endangered species and the protection of their habitats with human activities and encroachments remains a delicate and complex task. In this instance, the consequences of inadequate quarantine procedures and the challenges of relocating wildlife without sufficient acclimatization have had tragic outcomes.

Efforts to protect and conserve Bengaluru's diverse wildlife must now redouble, as officials work tirelessly to prevent further outbreaks and safeguard the remaining animal populations within Bannerghatta National Park.

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