October 8, 2016
The number of deaths of elephants in and around Coimbatore continues to rise with two elephants, including a male and a female that was found dead in the Coimbatore Forest Division here. Ironically, these deaths came to light during Wildlife Week, which falls between October 2 and 8, marked to improve efforts at wildlife conservation.
While the post-mortem of the male elephant, which was seen with the famous Madukkarai Maharaj elephant recently suggests that it was a natural death, the autopsy of the female raised doubts .
Madukkarai Maharaj died in June after it was captured by forest officials in a special operation.
Officials from the forest department were informed of the latest dead elephant at Valankottai of the Karadimadai beat in Madukkarai Range on Friday night. The officials including District Forest Officer (DFO) S Ramasubramaniam, Tamil Nadu Forest veterinarian NS Manoharan and Madukkarai ranger M Senthil Kumar, who visited the spot on Saturday, claimed that the elephant was below 15 years of age.
“The elephant was treated on September 28 for a wound near the mouth caused following a fight with another bull. We fed it with food items mixed with meloxicam and other antibiotic drugs to treat the wound. But it was tough to track the animal as it moved into the thick jungle,” said Ramasubramaniam.
Vet Manoharan, who conducted the autopsy along with Alandurai local vet V Shiva Rathika, said that the death was caused by the severity of the injury and not by unnatural forces.
“We have collected dung samples and it is fresh which indicates that the animal was eating well and the lower jaw was intact. The tusks are also healthy. The only thing that could have killed the animal was the secondary complications caused by the injury,” he added claiming that the animal might have died around four days ago.
Commenting on the death of the female elephant in the backwaters of the Bhavanisagar dam at Sirumugai Range, the DFO said that that the cause of death can only be ascertained after collected samples are checked in the laboratory.
Claiming that the death could have been caused by disease, the DFO however said that they had vaccinated the cattle near the area for Foot and Mouth disease that spreads to wild animals from the cattle.
“We cannot be sure that this was the case. Anyway, we would vaccinate again with the help of the Animal Husbandry Department if the symptoms of the disease are found,” he informed.