Entomologist tracing cause of monkey deaths

Entomologist tracing cause of monkey deaths

Udupi District Entomologist Muktha collects infected ticks in a test tube with the help of Tick Collector Vighnesh at Uddinamakki Marase village in Kandlur Gram Panchayat jurisdiction in Kundapur taluk.

Udupi District Entomologist Muktha has never had a moment’s rest ever since monkeys begun dying nder mysterious circumstances in and around Kundapur.

On Friday, she spent the entire morning in Belwee and later a part of the evening in Uddinamakki Marase in Kandlur Gram Panchayat jurisdiction in Kundapur taluk, collecting samples of infected ticks in test tubes in order to submit them to the Viral Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) in Shivamogga and get to the root of the mystery.

The seasoned Entomologist, who had also served in Dakshina Kannada district, jokingly declares among colleagues of having grown amidst Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD) in Uttara Kannada district.

After hearing the death of a monkey in Belwee, Muktha rushed to the spot and had the viscera dispatched immediately to Shivamogga.

Mukta spends hours at the site ignoring her own safety while collecting a healthy sample of infected ticks.

The Entomologist also ensures that after the viscera is collected from the dead monkey, the carcass is burnt to ashes.

At many places, Mukta had stayed behind to bury the carcasses of the animals in order to ensure that no wild animal dragged it away.

Besides collecting samples of the infected ticks, Muktha makes it a point to advice residents on not to venture into the forest or allowing their cattle (livestock) to graze in the forest.

Some of the residents were unaware that cattle also carried ticks capable of transmitting the infectious disease, monkey fever.

Her car driver Shankar told DH that the entomologist did not even suffer hunger pangs while on duty. On arriving at Uddinamakki Marase, she was pleased to see that the remains of carcasses buried, along with the burnt firewood.

The entomologist, along with the tick collector Vighnesh, collected infected ticks with the help of a white towel until dusk enveloped the area.