Activists accuse forest department of hushing up jumbo deaths (India)


Times of India

Date Published

UDHAGAMANDALAM: Wildlife activists on Friday alleged that the forest department was not informing all sections of the media about elephant deaths in the Nilgiris. As many as four elephants were found dead in the Nilgiris during the past one week.

While activists claimed that the forest department was safeguarding its own interest by not revealing the cases of deaths of wild animals, forest officials said casualties were normal during the summer or dry season and that it was a universal phenomenon.

While two elephants were found dead at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the Nilgi ris, two more were found dead in the north division of Nilgiris forests last week.
MTR field director Srinivas R Reddy said a 50-year-old female elephant and a fourmonth-old calf were found dead in the MTR. “As far as MTR is concerned, the situation is not very bad with regard to availability of water. Moyar River, running through the reserve, keeps the forest area green even during the summer season. While the female elephant died due to old age, the calf perished after being abandoned by its herd.”

Mortality rate will always be high during the summer season. “Summer is always a testing period for calves. It is a universal phenomenon,” the official added.

However, a wildlife activist, on condition of anonymity , said, “Whatever it is, the cases of deaths of wildlife should be brought to the notice of the entire media; not to a particular section. And preliminary reports of the postmortem report of the dead animals should also be made public.”