In Times of India (dated 23 Jan, 2013) there is an article on page 8 with the above mentioned title which goes on to say that as many as 51 cheetals at an enclosure in Kanha Tiger Reserve died because of consuming Lantana Camara in large quantities due to starvation.
A chemical named triterpenes in Lantana causes liver damage in animals when enough leaves are consumed. Symptoms of poisoning include muscle weakness, gastrointestinal problems, lethargy and cardiac collapse. The major effect of Lantana is photosensitization which in acute cases causes death in 2 4 days whereas in sub acute cases death may in a couple of weeks.
Everybody here with a reasonable amount of knowledge would know that animals avoid poisonous plants when there is sufficient amount of foliage available. That said, isn't it the forest department's duty to regularly monitor an area for such kind of invasive plant species ?
Anyways, I am not here to blame anybody or accuse the department, but I am here with a request.
The plant called Lantana Camara is an invasive species in tropical and sub tropical parts of the world including our country. In India this plant bears fruit all year round and this appears to have an impact on bird communities. No doubt it is difficult to eradicate it but we cannot stop trying.
So please if you see this plant anywhere especially near a forest area then please notify all concerned authorities and take regular follow up of the same ! Also, if you have planted this plant without knowing all the adverse effects it has on the environment then please I urge you to take all steps in removing it and destroying it thoroughly as this plant spreads very rapidly.
Also, please pass on this info to every nature lover, photographer, friend and colleague you know !
P.S. : Here is a useful link for everybody on Lantana Camara. It's a pdf by the Asia Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network. Please download it and read it.