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 [Representational image] A Japanese monkey soaks in a hot spring at a snow-covered valley in Yamanouchi town, central Japan January 2, 2009.Reuters

The sudden death of 12 monkeys at a forest in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district has sparked controversy. Veterinary experts claim that all the monkeys simultaneously suffered heart attacks, but wildlife experts claim that the animals died of some infection.

Locals, who discovered the bodies of the 12 monkeys, were initially in shock by the mass deaths. Later, post-mortem revealed that they died of heart attacks at the same time and not poisoning.

According to the Times of India, a panel of four veterinarians – deputy chief veterinary officer Dr Mohammed Farukh, Dr Ravikant Verma, Dr AK Tripathi and Dr Pushpendra Kumar – conducted the post-mortem that said that the monkeys died of heart attack.

"The panel has told us that the reason of the death of all the monkeys is the same; they had clots in their hearts. No poison was found in their bodies. Besides, there were no injury marks on the monkeys' bodies. We checked nearby areas on Tuesday and found pug marks of an adult tiger near the place where the monkeys' bodies were found," Mohammadi forest ranger S N Yadav told TOI.

Yadav said that the tiger in the forest that recently killed a man might have scared the monkeys. "When a tiger roars, it roars at least two-three times, and the same could have happened on Monday night," he said.

However, wildlife experts claim that wild animals don't die of heart attacks. Dr Brijendra Singh, a veterinarian, said that an infection or poisoning might have claimed the monkeys' lives.

"Monkeys are a wild animal and they don't die in this manner, otherwise, it would have been easy to control their population. Blackbucks are considered as the most sensitive animal and die of heart attack. But, even blackbucks don't die after they hear a tiger roaring. All the monkeys might have been suffering from some infection that claimed their lives," he told TOI.

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