Juvenile tusker dies in Attappady

Wound found in animal’s jaw possibly due to tumour, say vets

A juvenile tusker found stranded in a gooseberry orchard at Veettikkundu near Agali in Attappady from Thursday evening died on Friday night. The five-year-old wild tusker breathed its last around 10.15 p.m. even as forest officials tried their best to save it.

The carcass was buried at the same spot considering the difficulty in collecting enough firewood for its cremation. In the post-mortem, it was found that the animal had a wound in the lower jaw. Veterinary surgeons said the wound was the sign of a possible tumour.

Forest officials ruled out any human intervention behind the wound. However, they suspect that the elephant might have suffered the injury in a fight with another one. The tusks protruded 15 cm from the animal’s mouth.

The elephant was apparently part of a herd that used to stray into the area. It got stranded on top of a hill and came down to the gooseberry orchard near the road after a group of tribespeople went to investigate.

Till Friday afternoon, the elephant reportedly scared people away when they attempted to help it. Officials were uncertain about tranquillising the animal as it was too weak. By around 5 p.m., it collapsed and did not rise again. Under the watch of forest officials, the animal died at 10.15 p.m. on Friday.

“It was too painful to watch the animal die miserably. This was the second elephant death I witnessed in the same manner in my career,” said Agali Forest Range Officer K.T. Udayan.

The elephant had not eaten for a few days. The starvation it suffered was evident on its body. “This was exactly what worried us for going for a tranquilliser,” said a forest official.

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