“Finding a tusker in a herd being particularly lazy, we started to monitor it on Sunday morning. By afternoon, the tusker fell and died in the now dry Bhavani river basin,” said Sirumugai Forest Ranger B Srinivasan.
“Based on the information from a forest guard, a team was sent to the spot to identify the cause of death. Since the elephant did not sport any injury, we suspect it might have suffered from worm disease,” he added.
“Though the number of elephant deaths has been high this month, the reasons for death have been different. We suspect that this elephant died due to the worm disease. Had we known about this earlier, we might have treated the condition,” said a top forest official, who did not want to be named.
“Without the autopsy, we cannot confirm the cause of the elephant’s death,” said forest veterinarian N S Manohar.
The autopsy has been scheduled for Monday.
This is the fourth elephant and the third tusker to die in the Coimbatore Forest Division in the last one month.
On June 19, Madukkarai Maharaj, a rougue elephant that had been damaging crops in Madukkarai area near here for the past three years and had killed two persons, was tranquilised and taken to an elephant camp. But it died two days after its shifting to the Varagaliyar camp in Anamalai Tiger Reserve, leading to an uproar among wildlife enthusiasts.
In the wee hours of June 20, a 15-year-old female elephant died after being hit by a train in Madukkarai.
While the elephants were crossing the railway line from the reserve forest into human habitation, the Bengaluru-Thiruvananthapuram Express hit the lactating elephant, killing the animal on the spot.
According to the forest department sources, the deceased elephant could have been part of a herd of 13 elephants, which included a calf.