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After Gir lions’ deaths, Centre alerts TN
In the wake from the massive death of 23 lions in Gir forests in Gujarat due to canine distemper virus outbreak, the Union Ministry of Environment and forests has sounded an alert to Tamil Nadu to take care of its tiger population.
Both the big cats - lion and tiger - are vulnerable for canine distemper virus (CDV) and with Tamil Nadu being fourth largest tiger state, the alert is sounded, a forest official told DT Next.
An order issued by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), New Delhi on Wednesday, urged all the tiger reserves in the country to monitor the tigers and warned that stray and feral dogs act as a transmitting host to the canine distemper virus. NTCA had issued advisories and all the four tiger reserves in the state has been put on alert, the official added.
Global studies have proved that the climate changes and heavy drought trigger CDV and parasitic infections among wild the cats and the outbreak in the Gir killing two dozen lions, needs a thorough scientific investigation, opines wildlife biologist Dr A Kumaraguru, member of Sathyamangalam Tiger Conservation Authority. South India accounts for the large population of tigers and there should be more coordination between the tiger reserves in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, so that there is no such epidemic outbreak in The Nilgiris biosphere.
The CDV suppresses the immune system and would make both lion and tiger vulnerable for parasite and tick infections and this what happened in case of the Gujarat lions.
Further, Gujarat should now consider translocating some of its lions outside Gujarat so that the population of Asiatic lion is also protected in another state, Kumaraguru added.