Manipur, Odisha attacks similar: WWI expert

IMPHAL, 2nd Dec: An expert team of Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun led by its two senior scientists arrived here on Sunday to investigate the mysterious animal attacks on livestock in the state.
Briefing media persons soon after reaching the state, WII forensic expert Dr Gopi said that the attacks bear similarity to a series of wild animal attacks that happened in Odisha last year.
Dr Gopi said that a meeting was convened with the state chief conservator of forests and officials concerned at noon. The team also viewed a presentation on the mannerism of killings and in-depth discussions were held. The killings are not only unfortunate but are unnatural as well, he added.
Stating that the attacks bear resemblance to the wild animal attacks reported in Odisha last year, Dr Gopi recounted that a team of WII had investigated the attacks amidst circulation of rumours, fake videos, pictures and a strong fear psychosis.
After an in-depth investigation, the attacks were found to be carried out by Indian Wolf, a sub-species of the grey wolf, that was targeting the livestock owing to lack of food in the wild and also, as livestock are easy preys. Another reason for the surplus killings was that the carnivores moved in groups and were teaching the young members how to hunt a prey, thereby often leading them to target easily available preys that include small birds, pigs, cows, etc, he said.
Dr Gopi then informed that various steps are being taken up to catch and identify the unknown predator at the earliest.
Chief Conservator of Forests Anurag said that the department has set up camera and traps at suspected sites to catch the unknown predator. In addition, to allay apprehension among the public, DFOs of Thoubal and Churachandpur have set up wooden traps with live chicken as bait to catch the predator, apart from providing instructions to people on how to better protect their livestock.
Furthermore, the Department has issued a notice through the respective DFOs informing the people about the Do’s and Don’ts on the matter. Contact numbers of officers concerned have been provided for any complaints or information, along with setting up traps at other places as well. Mobile squads have also been dispatched at suspected areas and WII Dehradun is collecting forensic evidences from such areas, he added.
Moreover, to curb the spread of rumours, edited videos and pictures on social media platforms, a written statement has been sent to Manipur DGP to utilise the cyber crime unit in this regard, Anurag conveyed.
The WII team comprises senior scientists Dr Hussain and Dr R Vadolani, three wildlife biologists and forensic experts.

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