A female elephant, about 40 years of age, was found dead in Haldwani range of the Tanda forest on Wednesday. It is suspected the pachyderm died of thirst, as the post mortem report revealed water shortage in the body, which was 10-12 days old, officials said. The incident came to light after the forest department employees felt stench in the forest area, they added.Savitri Giri, a ranger of Haldwani Range, said that vital organs of the elephant were intact and it was a case of natural death. The post mortem has found that the elephant could have had fever or some illness coupled with water shortage in the body, she added.Last year, three elephants were killed in the Haldi area of Udham Singh Nagar district when they were hit by the Ranikhet Express train. The local people had told forest officials that the elephants were searching for water before the accident.Water availability in the jungles is a major issue for wildlife conservation. The rivers and streams dry up during the summer months posing problems for the animals. Parag Madhukar Dhakate, the conservator of forest, Western Division, said that the water shortage inside the jungles is a matter of concern. “We have made many water holes inside the jungles and these are kept full by making arrangement of water tankers. The water spots are chosen after surveying the area,” he said. Dhakate said they have made proper provision for water supply so that the water holes are not left dry. The employees have been instructions not to leave any hole dry to ensure water to the animals, he added.