COIMBATORE: A wild tusker aged about 20 years was found dead in the forests near Thekkampatti in Mettupalayam range where the annual elephant rejuvenation camp is underway.
Forest officials said the tusker did not have any signs of external injuries or marks to indicate the cause of death. A post mortem was performed to ascertain the cause of death. However, the officials could not come to a conclusion on the exact cause of death.
“We have sent tissue specimens to a forensic lab in Coimbatore for further analyses. We expect the tests to be performed on Thursday after which we will come to know the reason for the death,” said Mettupalayam forest ranger M Nazir. However, the officials found that there were worms in the intestine of the elephant indicating the possibility of sickness. “It is a normal for wild elephants to get infected and fall sick in the forests,” he said.
Forest officials said that they spotted a five-member herd of wild elephants at Thekkampatti on Tuesday night and the dead elephant could have been part of the herd. “There was elephant movement on Tuesday night in the range. We found foot marks of other elephants close to the carcass of the tusker,” Nazir said.
According to forest officials, villagers spotted the elephant on Wednesday morning and informed them. Soon, district forest officer C H Padma and veterinarian Manoharan rushed to the spot. Manoharan performed the post mortem after which the carcass was buried. The tusk was removed to be sent to forest department headquarters in Chennai.
There have been instances in the past when elephants died of electrocution or infighting within their herd. “But there is no possibility of electrocution in this case as there were no electric fences in the proximity of the area where the body was found,” a forest official said.