Man-animal conflict: Five wild elephant deaths in a month (Idukki District, India) 


The Times of India

Date Published

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IDUKKI: Man-animal conflict has entered a disturbing phase in and around Munnar with the number of elephants entering human settlements registering an increase. The safety of wild elephants are at risk with five of them dying in 35 days in Munnar and Marayoor forest division areas.

While two elephants died of unknown causes, an excavator rammed the third one, a brick wall fell on the fourth one and the fifth one was electrocuted.

It was on July 25 that the rogue tusker named Chillikkompan was injured by an excavator on the premises of the Kannan Devan tea plantations at Chenduvara and later succumbed to the injuries.

Postmortem report revealed that the elephant died of injuries in heart and lungs. Another female elephant was found dead in Thalayar estate near Munnar on August 5. The elephant had apparently slipped from a rock. On August 11, another female elephant was found dead near the estate belonging to ADGP Tomin J Thachankary’s brother Tissen J Thachankary.

Later, the postmortem revealed that the elephant was electrocuted. The forest department regis tered a case against the estate manager and the estate owner. The estate owner was named as the second accused in the case and forest officials recorded his arrest. On August 22, the carcass of a female elephant was spotted in KDHP plantations in Chokkanad.

According to postmortem report the 16-year-old pregnant elephant died due to health issues. “The samples of internal organs of the two elephants have been already sent to Palod veterinary laboratory for detailed examination. We suspect the elephants died of some disease. Once we get the report we will take further steps,” said chief wildlife warden K J Varghese.

Meanwhile, on August 19, another elephant died in Adimali forest division. The elephant tried to demolish an isolated building and the wall collapsed on it.

“In Munnar, the rule now is to kill animals to bring down the menace. Despite sending many letters to the wildlife board, the officials have not even bothered to send a team to study the issue.The incidents have clearly proved that the resort lobby and related mafia tried to kill the wild elephants in the area, says V K Venkitachalam of the Heritage Animal Task Force.