A wild tiger in India. Photo: iStock

Officials at a tiger reserve in India have launched a drive to limit the spread of parasites after several reports of tigers being infected by them surfaced.

The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve in the state of Uttar Pradesh started the drive in the hope of controlling the spread of parasites in the reserve forest, the Hindustan Times reported. The parasites are said to target large feline-type animals such as tigers and leopards.

Adarsh Kumar, a divisional forest officer, said about a dozen types of parasites had been identified and relevant measures would be taken to stop their spread. Wildlife research groups will also be asked to help.

In 2018, a tiger in the reserve was found with a lethal parasitic infection that ended up killing it. An autopsy on the tiger found nine different parasites in the tiger’s intestines, muscles and heart. Five types of roundworms and four kinds of flatworms were collected during the autopsy.

Four other carcasses of tigers were also found to have been linked with parasitic infections. Experts suggested that most parasites invaded the animal’s body through wounds or food.

Forest officers will first collect samples from animals that are hunted by the tigers, including deer, antelope and boar. Kumar added that after an examination, the results will be shared with experts who will help formulate a plan to combat the spread.

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