Pradeep Pattanayak

If it is not one thing, it’s the other for the villagers of Sanakhemundi area under Digapahandi forest range in Ganjam district. 

The fear of the unknown animal had first gripped the villagers. Over 20 goats were allegedly killed by this unknown animal. While the animal rearers are yet to come to terms with the loss, the fear of Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) has loomed large in their mind. 

The symptom of domestic animals’ wounds getting aggravated has led them to believe that they are affected by the disease. 

Instead of providing them treatment, the panic-stricken superstitious villagers have started worshipping their affected animals, particularly cattle. 

Confirming the infection, block veterinary officer Dr Prabin Kumar Sahu said, “The infection caused by LSD has spread to all the villages of Sanakhemundi block. We have informed our director. Soon the infected animals will be vaccinated.”
At the same time, a team of the Digapahandi forest department led by Sanakhemundi forester has intensified night patrolling to trace the unknown animal. 

The condition of villagers residing close to Sorishapal forest in Athgarh is no different either. They have alleged a leopard is attacking their animals. They said they are spending sleepless nights to save their animals from the carnivore. 

According to the villagers, a calf had gone missing on Friday. And its carcass was spotted on Saturday. 
On being informed, officials from Athgarh and Tigiria forest departments have camped in the village and launched a probe into the allegation. 

However, they have warned people against taking domestic animals to the forest. 

A few months ago, in the same forest, a leopard was killed after getting trapped in the snare laid out by poachers. This led to the villagers suspect that there are big cats in the forest. They said they are worried about their domestic animals.


(Reported by Manoj Muni from Aska and Nilakantha Dora from Athgarh, OTV)