A portion of the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP), which draws thousands of tourists everyday, will be closed following the sudden outbreak of foot and mouth (F and M) disease. So far, the disease has claimed three spotted deer and a nilgai.
The F and M disease has been detrimental to animals in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries of the state for the last few years. The disease has gripped the zoo since long. It has left forest officials puzzled as this is the first instance of the outbreak in Bannerghatta Park.
“We are really surprised about how this disease has spread here, because there is no grazing of cattle. We never had this disease ever since the park was notified,” G S Prabhu, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Chief Wildlife Warden, told Deccan Herald.
Prabhu said the park will be closed as a precautionary measure.
“The safari will remain closed for now due to the outbreak of the disease,” he said. The park which hosts hundreds of herbivores like spotted deer, sambar, nilgai, gaur and black bucks is a grassland.
Among these animals, nilgai, one of the largest antelopes in Asia, is extinct in the state. It was earlier sighted in the forests of Sandur, Bellary district.
The disease spreads from cattle to other animals when they consume the salivated grass or plants.
Prabhu said the department has taken steps to prevent the disease.
An awareness programme has also been initiated in the villages in the vicinity. A vaccination drive has also begun. The safari in the carnivorous enclosure will continue as usual.