Gaur dies after chase

Alipurduar, May 26: A gaur from the Diana forest died today while being chased out of Chengmari Tea Estate by a group of workers. Foresters hinted that the animal’s heart probably gave away.

In another development, the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Calcutta has said the blood slides of the female elephant that died in the Kalimpong forest division on May 18 did not contain anthrax, putting to rest fears of an outbreak.

This morning, two gaur, or Indian bison, entered the Chengmari garden in Nagrakata from the adjacent Diana forest. When they were spotted near the labour lines, the workers tried to chase them out of the estate.

“Suddenly, one of the gaur slumped to the ground and died,” said Tapas Das, the divisional forest officer of wildlife-II, who went to the garden later. He said the animals did not gore anyone.

“We will conduct a post-mortem to find out the cause of death, but usually, the gaur has a very weak heart and when the workers chased the animal it ran around aimlessly. That could have caused its death,” Das said.

About the negative anthrax report, S.S. Bist, the chief wildlife warden of Bengal, told The Telegraph from Calcutta: “Today, we have received the result of the tests conducted on the blood slides (of the dead elephant) sent to the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. The report says that there is no anthrax in the sample. A thorough screening of wild and domesticated animals in the area did not reveal any outbreak either. We are relieved that the local reports that said the elephant might have died of anthrax have been proved wrong.”

After the adult elephant was found dead in the Noam range, foresters had conducted a thorough search within a 5km radius of the area, including fringe villages, for signs of an anthrax outbreak.