Similipal, 27 October, 2018 : The MVS unit operating in Similipal Biosphere Reserve in collaboration with Similipal Forest department, Government of Odisha, organized a one-day workshop titled “Detection, management, and control of infectious diseases on domestic animal-wildlife interface” at Baripada, Odisha. The team organized the workshop to sensitize veterinarians working in the animal husbandry department and deputed in and around forest divisions of Similipal Tiger Reserve.
Around 26 veterinarians from Bisoi, Jashipur, Baripada, Karanjia, Rairangpur, etc. attended the workshop. Apart from the Chief District Veterinary Officer (CDVO), Dr S. Panigrahi, the workshop was also attended by Shri. K.R. Parida, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Similipal Tiger Reserve. The resource persons during the workshop were Dr NVK Ashraf, Senior Director and Chief Veterinarian, Wildlife Trust of India and Dr Arun Zachariah, Forest Veterinarian, Department of Environment and Forests, Government of Kerala.
Dr. Khanin Changmai, Veterinary Surgeon, MVS-SBR, WTI welcomed the participants and felicitated the resource persons present for the workshop. Mr Parida started the workshop by giving a brief talk on Similipal Tiger reserve, its biodiversity and natural values. Abhishek Narayanan, Head of Division, Wild Rescue, WTI then talked about the need and scope of this workshop and the expectations from the Animal Husbandry veterinarians posted in the region. The first talk was on the role of veterinarians in wildlife management by Dr Ashraf. He emphasized, with the increasing incidences of Emerging Infectious Diseases the contribution of veterinarians in wildlife management is paramount for conservation. Participants interacted with Dr Ashraf on aspects like role of tigers in the ecosystem, role of animal husbandry veterinarians in management of wildlife in Protected Areas like Similipal, etc.
Following this, Dr. Arun briefed the participants about key diseases recorded in Asian elephants and emerging infectious diseases that affect elephant populations. He talked about diseases like Anthrax that have shown an increasing trend in states like Odisha, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka etc. He also talked about parasitic infections and the fact that these are largely under-diagnosed despite high incidences in Asian Elephants. He added further to this by talking about the necropsy techniques for investigating the cause of mortality in elephants and tigers. The participants indicated that in Similipal they rarely get an opportunity to conduct a detailed investigation as most of the carcasses of elephants are detected late and are putrefied beyond recognition. To this, Dr. Arun responded that efforts should be made to detect carcasses early to ensure complete investigation of the cause of death of the animal. In a few cases, the same is detected late; there are techniques that can be used to derive at least some conclusions based on circumstantial evidence.
Abhishek Narayanan gave a brief presentation on the concept of One Health, its relevance in Odisha and the need for creating a Biosafety Zone around the Biosphere Reserve to minimize risk of disease spillover across the domestic animal-wildlife interface. He also mentioned the need for efficient and consistent efforts in immunization and vaccination of livestock and community animals (like dogs) living in and around the Biosphere Reserve. After the presentation, the floor was opened to discussion. The CDVO talking about the FMD Control Program (CP) that is being implemented in the state of Odisha aiming to achieve a 100% coverage of FMD vaccination in the villages. However, he mentioned that while the target is 100%, what is achieved is around 60-80% coverage. He also mentioned the recent efforts of the department in immunizing community dogs against Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) and the Animal Birth Control (ABC) program being undertaken in the district. He insisted that there should be a stronger collaborative approach with all stakeholders in carrying out the vaccination program.
The program concluded with a vote of thanks by Rudra Mahapatra, Odisha State Facilitator, WTI.