At least nine bantengs roaming near Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary are infected with Lumpy Skin Disease, says the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plantation (DNP).
The discovery has sparked fears of an outbreak among cattle and other wildlife in the area.
Hidden cameras monitoring wildlife showed the bantengs with lumpy skin feeding in the Thab Salao-Huai Rabam area about 10 kilometres from the sanctuary in Uthai Thani.
A team of specialists later collected blood samples from the bantengs and tests confirmed the animals had the disease, Wildlife Conservation Office director, Sompong Thongseekhe, said.
The blood samples were examined at the National Institute of Animal Health and officials from there have been sent to monitor the health of the infected bantengs which may have to be captured and taken to the institute for treatment. None had displayed worrying symptoms so far, Mr Sompong said.
The main concern, however, was that the animals could transmit the disease to cattle grazing in the Thab Salao-Huai Rabam area.
Cattle were at more risk of dying from Lumpy Skin Disease than bantengs because of a weaker immune system.
He also expressed concern over the safety of other wildlife, including the last few remaining groups of wild water buffalos in the sanctuary.
Thanit Nooyim, director of Conservation Administration Area 12 in Nakhon Sawan, said the disease poses a grave threat to several rare animal species that can only be found in the sanctuary.
The situation was being closely monitored and forestry officials have asked local authorities to warn farmers to keep their livestock well away from the sanctuary.
Source : www.bangkokpost.com