GUDALUR: Chikku, a cattle herder in Gudalur in the Nilgiris, is a worried man. “Water in the Dhodda Moyar was a little dark last week. When my cattle drank it, they fell sick and in the next couple of days more than half a dozen of them died,” he says. Siva, a worker in a farm in the same area, said he went to bathe in the river, but changed his mind since the water was dark in colour. Subsequently two cattle from the farm where he works died.
Two elephants in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve camp also died around the same time due to dehydration. Following the deaths, the camp has been temporarily shifted to four different places in the reserve, say the wildlife officials.
Salmonella, a dreaded bacteria, could have caused the death of the cattle and the elephants in captivity, officials suspect. A forest department veterinarian said they have sent the samples to a laboratory and are awaiting the results.