Two elephant calves, aged three and four, drowned at Sonaparvat and Jharbera area of Rourkela forest division (RFD) in Sundargarh district.
Rourkela-based Regional Chief Conservator of Forest (RCCF) Lingaraj Otta said a male elephant died at Sonaparvat area of Panposh forest range after it got stuck in a puddle of mud. Investigation revealed that the calf was moving in the herd of 14 elephants when between 12 pm and 1 am
, it slipped into the puddle. He said it appeared that the calf’s feet got stuck in the mud and three adult elephants trying to rescue it might have slipped and violently pressed it leading to its death due to strangulation. Three adult elephants guarded it till 5 am
on Thursday which prevented forest officials from rescuing the calf.
Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) J K Mohanty said the adult elephants dragged the carcass for about 10 feet from puddle and finally left the spot. He said there was a swelling mark near the calf’s ear which might have been caused due to the weight of one of the adult elephants.
Sundargarh DFO AK Mishra, who is in additional charge of RFD, said another elephant calf drowned in an open well meant for irrigation at Riu of Kuanrmunda range early on Thursday. The umbilical cord of the calf was still attached to its stomach. He said the new-born elephant was part of the herd of six elephants.
Incidentally, a tusker, aged between 25 and 30 years, was found dead on September 2 in a paddy field at Angarpara village of Banki range in Lahunipara block under RFD. Forest officials attributed the cause to accidental poisoning after it had raided a mud house and had eaten urea and concentrated pesticide.