MAJULI, Aug 3 - A poisonous invasive shrub called �lantana camara� has posed a serious threat to herbivorous livestock of the entire river-side population of Majuli and several char areas as veterinary doctors today confirmed the death of atleast 64 cattle due to the consumption of its leaves at Ahotguri, Korotipar, Major Chapori, Moloya Chapori and many other flood-hit localities of the river-island.
As the recent waves of flood destroyed all kinds of grass and other fodder-plants in the river-side meadows the animals had no other option than eating the poisonous shrubs which could tolerate the devastation of flood in almost all the sandbars of the river-island.
�As per the information we received today 64 cattle died. Our preliminary investigation suggested that the cows, heifers, calves died after consuming the poisonous shrub lanta camara, which are available in the areas even after the flood,� said Sub-Divisional Veterinary Officer (in-charge) Dr Thaneswar Mudoi.
However, he said that no epidemic for animals has occurred in the river-island though some rumours were spread by some people in past few days.
A local resident of Majuli, Dr Mudoi said that the shrubs were seen growing in large numbers across the sandbars of Brahmaputra and they intensified awareness campaigns among the farmers of Ahotguri and many other locations so that the mortality rate of the herbivorous livestock can be reduced in the aftermath of floods.
Talking to this correspondent another veterinary expert said many farmers of the river-island and several other river-side areas of the state do not know that �lantana camara� is a poisonous weed that can kill both cattle and men if it is eaten. According to them the invasive shrubs started growing in the sandbars of Brahmaputra after the devastating flood of 1988.
�The chemicals, which are found in the leaves of lantana camara, first damage the liver of the animals and cause severe jaundice. Long term treatment atleast for a period of 12 to 15 days is necessary either for a cow or a heifer that suffer from such a disease. We apply saline and liver-stimulants injections during the treatment,� said a veterinary expert.
However, absence of sufficient cartoons of such saline and injections in stocks was revealed by many officials of Majuli who have been frequenting the affected areas through boats. Few teams of veterinary officials rushed from Jorhat today after the death of cattle caused a serious concern among the people in administration.
It may be mentioned that only four veterinary doctors and a small number of para-veterinery staffs were entrusted to provide service to the affected river-island where the officials had to face serious problems during each of their journey through river-routes by boats from one sandbar to another sandbar that witnessed the death of cattle in large numbers in the aftermath of flood.
Majuli needs atleast 25 veterinary doctors and supporting-staffs to mitigate the disaster for this period, said a veterinary expert who was found to be busy in treating ailing cows in a sandbar.