A fractured rib caused by sudden fall is suspected to have claimed the life of the 34-year-old female elephant near the Kavadiathal temple in Narasipuram area close to the forest in Coimbatore district, on Tuesday. District Forest Officer in-charge, A. Periyasamy, said that the rib had pierced the animal’s lung, resulting in blood clots in the lungs.
“The animal also suffered multiple internal haemorrhages in the fall,” he told The Hindu after the post-mortem, on Wednesday. The post-mortem was conducted by a team of veterinarians attached to the Animal Husbandry Department in the presence of NGO representatives and Forest Department officials.
On Tuesday morning, forest personnel were driving the elephant and its four-year-old male calf from an agricultural land to the forest when the pale-looking female stopped in the valley, fell down and died. “The animal fell down around 8.30 a.m. and died,” he said.
Mr. Periyasamy said that the animal also had worms in the intestine due to which its feed intake had gone down drastically affecting its health. The DFO added that even healthy elephants die on falling down on their chest – as their chest is weak.
Kumki Paari was stationed close to the site to prevent wild elephants from attacking the team that conducted the post-mortem. Vital organs of the animal were retrieved and would be sent for forensic analysis. The carcass was buried at the same place.
Meanwhile, the four-year-old calf stood next to its mother’s carcass till around 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Forest Department personnel said that late on Tuesday evening the calf went away from the carcass for a short distance and returned around 2 a.m. and then slept standing close to the mother.
On Wednesday, the calf was driven into the forest before the post-mortem began. A department officer said that a few days ago a herd of 15 elephants was roaming in the nearby forest and there were only 13 in the herd over the last two days.
It is suspected that the dead one and its calf could be the two other members of the herd.
“Two special teams will monitor the calf till it is accepted by the herd. We have also placed apples, bananas and pomegranates at a few places for the calf to feed as it is upset over its mother’s death. However, it was feeding on greens and is in good health,” Bolampatti Ranger C. Dinesh Kumar said. Forest personnel asked people in the nearby settlements to turn off solar electric fencing for their agricultural lands till the baby elephant reunites with herd.