Dhemaji, April 24: Mithun (Bos frontalis), a semi domesticated bovine which is called the state animal of Arunachal Pradesh has been reportedly dying in the hilly areas of Siang region in Central part of the State.
The most treasured animal reared in thousands in the hilly state is falling in great danger due to the outbreak of Food & Mouth Disease (FMD).
The veterinary department of the State has a herculean task ahead to check the onslaught of the FMD through vaccination, but lack of sufficient medicine stock and field staff in the department is hindering the task.
Report has revealed that reared mithuns roaming in hilly juggles of Upper Siang, West Siang, Siang and East Siang districts are infected with FMD, causing great concern among the animal farmers.
At least 10 mithuns reportedly died so far, while a large number of cattle have been suffering from FMD at remote Riga, Pangkong, Riew and Sitang villages under Siang district in the past few weeks.
The farmers have reported the case to the State's veterinary and animal husbandry department, and requested the officials to take prompt action to control the viral disease, which they said is spreading rapidly in Siang belt of Central Arunachal zone.
"Massive death of livestock caused by FMD is causing great concern among rural farmers, who are surviving on agriculture and animal farming activities. We have demanded the veterinary directorate to send a team of veterinary experts to the area and control the epidemic", said Tabi Mize, a public leader of Riga in Siang district on Friday.
FMD infection on reared mithuns has also been reported from different parts of East Siang district. The animal farmers have moved the veterinary department to take early remedial measures to protect the worthy livestock and prevent further spreading of the fetal FMD to new areas.
This is not the first time that FMD has come to the hill state. An epidemic of FMD had also occurred earlier in 57 villages in the state between 1994 and 1995, infecting 6,237 mithuns and killing over 800 animals. Even the strain of FMD causing the earlier epidemic in Arunachal Pradesh was identified as the Asia1 virus serotype.
In subsequent period, FMD outbreak in Mithuns was reported from Kurung-Kumey, East Kameng and West Kameng districts in 2012, while it reportedly resurfaced in 2013 with epidemic form in West Siang and East Siang districts besides other eastern parts of the eastern Arunachal.
FMD in epidemic form recurred in Siang region during 2018, causing death of many mithuns and domestic cattle in Remote Koyu area in Lower Siang district.
Mithun, which is also known as 'cattle of mountain", has been considered most valuable among the reared bovine species in Arunachal Pradesh. The animals have an important role in socio-economic and cultural life of the indigenous tribal people of north-eastern hill states of India. This magnificent massive bovine is presently reared under free-range condition in the hill forests at an altitude of 1000 to 3000 meter above mean sea level.