Minister allays fear, predator mystery deepens

IMPHAL, 28th Nov: Forest minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar has appealed to the people of the state not to panic over the mysterious killings of livestock by unknown predators even as veterinary and animal husbandry services director Dr H Chaoba assured assistance to farmers, whose livestock have fallen prey to the predators.
Addressing media persons at his new secretariat office here on Wednesday, Shyamkumar informed that the forest department along with officials of veterinary and animal husbandry department and wildlife experts conducted a meeting over the incident on Wednesday morning.
Experts have already taken footprints of the predators and are being studied. Preliminary report suggests the predator may be of canine species, though the final report will be tabled soon. As a preventive measure, the forest department has formed a team to catch the predators, he disclosed.
The team will keep domestic livestock such as duck, goats, pig, chicken, etc., at the foothills of various secured locations to lure the predators. The team is well equipped to catch the predators with the help of cameras installed at various strategic locations, he said.
On the other hand, veterinary and animal husbandry services director Dr H Chaoba said that the series of incidents that have happened across the state have discouraged several farmers. Considering the loss of the farmers, the department will take up special initiative to compensate the victim farmers under the existing schemes of the department.
Considering the series of incidents and as per post mortem report, the department is certain that the predators might be wild carnivorous animals in the group of canine and they might have come in pack. Wildlife experts are suggesting that the predators might be mongoose or mustelids, he said.
Informing that these animals can detect smell from long distance and they can easily travel up to 10 to 20 km in a night, the director appealed to all to keep their coops or sheds well lit while stating that such well-lit condition might discourage these animals from entering the area.

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