Central Team Report on Odisha Elephant Deaths.

26 February 2021.


Six elephants died at  Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary in Kalahandi in January-February due to haemorrhagic septicemia caused by bacteria Pastuerella multoceda according to a preliminary report by a central team set up by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The elephants are likely to have contracted the bacteria from cattle residing at Tentulipada village, a small hamlet of 12 households, inside the sanctuary.


  • The team had conducted the post-mortems and RNA extraction tests at the Orissa Veterinary College to come to the conclusion however, samples have been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly, UP for final confirmation.
  • The elephants are supposed to have  died in between January 29 and February 14, 2021.
  • Their carcasses  were found near water bodies.
  • A total of seven elephants comprising of five adults and two calves died and all of them were females.
  • Preliminary tests confirm that, all of them had very high levels of Pastuerella multoceda.

Pasteurella multocida

  • It is a Gram-negative, nonmotile, penicillin-sensitive coccobacillus that belongs to the family Pasteurellaceae.
  •  Strains of this species are classified into five serogroups namely A, B, D, E, F. they have subdivided into fiver groups on the basis of capsular composition and 16 somatic serovars.
  • This germ causes several diseases in the mammals and birds. Some of the diseases include fowl cholera in poultry, bovine hemorrhagic septicemia in cattle & buffalo and atrophic rhinitis in pigs.
  •  It also causes a zoonotic infection in humans because of bites or scratches from domestic pets.
  •  Mammals such as domestic cats & dogs and birds harbour it under their normal respiratory microbiota.

Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary

  • This wildlife sanctuary is located in Kalahandi district which is a popular tourist attraction of Odisha in India.
  •  It is located at this distance of 15 km from Bhawani Patna (district headquarters). It covers an area of 175 square kilometres.
  • It lies in the Eastern Highlands moist deciduous forests.  The sanctuary is home to leopard, tiger, nilgai, sambar, mouse deer, barking deer etc.

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