Preliminary investigation showed signs of anthrax
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Oct. 10: It was not long ago when a Royal Bengal tiger named Manikantan (male) along with Karthika (female) reached Nagaland Zoological Park (NZP) at Rangapahar. But much to the disappointment of the visitors, the majestic male tiger was not seen for more than two months. It has emerged that the zoo staff found the dead body of the big cat on July 31, 2018, precisely one year and nine months after arriving in the state.
The pair was brought to the state on Jan. 9, 2017 from Kerala’s Thiruvananthanpuram Zoo in exchange for two black Asiatic bears namely Kohima (male) and Dimapur (female) from NZP. Manikantan was 11 years old when he was brought to Nagaland.
Director of NZP, Obed Bohovi Swu, told Eastern Mirror that the death of Manikantan was a “suspected case of anthrax.” The preliminary investigation of his carcass showed signs of anthrax such as bleeding from nose, mouth, eyes, and swollen stomach due to gas, he said.
The zoo veterinary doctor too found symptoms similar to the disease (anthrax) in his body.
Anthrax is an infectious and common disease of livestock caused by the spore-forming bacteria Bacillus anthracis. It is often fatal and can even affect humans and a wide range of animals.
Samples from Manikantan’s body have been sent to places such as Guwahati and Shillong for testing to find out the exact cause of death and it should be out anytime soon, said Swu, adding that it takes a lot of time for confirmation of result.
When asked the reason for not disclosing the death of Manikantan to the public for so long, he said that since it was a suspected case of anthrax, the nature of the disease itself was a very big issue for the government as well as for the welfare of the public. Another reason was due to the non-confirmation of the test result, he added.
According to the forester 1 at NZP, Vinoto, there were no signs of physical weakness, struggles, or external injuries on the day before Manikantan died. He was moving around freely, adhering to his Monday fasting as usual, and having food on regular basis in his enclosure.
The Central Zoo Authority of India inspected the NZP and assessed the death of Manikantan but nothing much was obtained from the inspection, said Vinoto.
Protocols for safe disposal of carcasses were followed for the short-lived Manikantan and the grave was closely guarded by the zoo staff to avoid any kind of untoward incidents.