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“We got a call at about 7.15am in the morning about this elephant having fainted in the village. Luckily, we were already on the field and I rushed with doctors to the spot by 7.45am,” Range Forest Officer (RFO), Sangam range, K Shivaram told TOI.
Upon examining the animal, the veterinarian suspected that the elephant may have fainted because it had not got sufficient water. Shivaram said that it could have moved out of the forest and reached the village on Wednesday night.
“I think it came in search of food, but by morning it had lost all the energy without water,” he said, adding that the elephant was still moving its limbs and trunks when they first arrived at the spot.
As its condition deteriorated, veterinarians from the Bannerghatta range arrived and even took the blood sample, which is being examined. “Before we could get the results of the test and ascertain what exactly is wrong with the animal, it died sometime between 4.30pm to 4.45pm,” Shivaram said.
He said that there were no signs of the elephant belonging to any herd that was in the vicinity. “He was travelling alone, which several male elephants do,” he added.
The elephant is a makna—a bull (male elephant) without tusks—and as of Thursday evening forest officials maintained that his death was caused due to dehydration but were still waiting for lab results to authenticate anything.
Shivaram, while conceding that the summer is hurting several animals in the Sangam range, just like in many other areas of Karnataka, said: “In anticipation of a harsh summer, we had begun creating ponds and wells in several parts from as early as October 2016.”
He said that ponds have been created in the Madivala, Bandegudu, Shivapuradoddi and Mugguru among other places. “The problem is that we cannot do this deep inside the forest, it can only be done in areas where borewells already exist and tankers can go to refill such ponds,” he added.