Anthrax has claimed three elephants in Jaldapara wildlife sanctuary in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal, sparking fears that the infectious disease could wipe out animal life in the reserve. The disease, which threatens domestic herbivores and even humans, may have been contracted from infected cattle in nearby villages.
The sanctuary harbours several protected species such as rhino, gaur, sambar and barking deer. Wildlife experts warn of serious consequences if the disease spreads. Says state conservator of wildlife Manish Nandy, "If the disease spreads to the rhinos too, we are in deep trouble. This epidemic can wipe out the entire Jaldapara animal population."
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