Wild elephant found dead in Kerala’s Kallar, calf’s plight moves forest staff
- Rubber tappers of the estate first noticed the carcass of the wild elephant and trumpeting baby in the morning and alerted forest officials. They were not allowed to come near the carcass by the angry baby elephant. And it took nearly five hours for officials to remove it from the site.
It was a heart-wrenching scene-- an elephant calf was trying its best to wake up its dead mother in a private estate in Kallar in south Kerala on Saturday. It took many hours for forest officials to remove the calf to a nearby elephant rehabilitation centre after firing sedation shots. Many forest officials were in tears after watching the baby jumbo’s plight.
“It seems to be a 40-year-old milking elephant and the baby is healthy. No external injuries were found on the body of the mother. We are not suspecting poisoning now because if it was so, the baby should also have tasted the same food,” said divisional forest office of Thiruvananthapuram, Pradeep Kumar. He said the carcass will be sent for an autopsy and the exact reason of the death can be ascertained after examining the internal organs.
Rubber tappers of the estate first noticed the carcass of the wild elephant and trumpeting baby in the morning and alerted forest officials. They were not allowed to come near the carcass by the angry baby. And it took nearly five hours for officials to remove the baby elephant from the site.
Officials said they waited for some time for the jumbo herd to come back to take care of the baby elephant but their efforts were in vain and they decided to shift the calf to Kotoor, the country’s first elephant rehabilitation centre in Thiruvananthapuram district, home to 15 elephants including seven abandoned and injured calves. Local people said jumbo incursion into human settlements was regular in the area.
The latest incident surfaced when the state was yet to recover from the shocking tale of ‘leopard curry.’ Forest officials had arrested five villagers in Idukki district who killed a six-year-old leopard after laying a snare and trapping it and later feasted on its meat on Friday. During the raid, officials recovered cooked leopard meat curry, uncooked meat, teeth, nails and skin of the killed cat.
Shocked forest officials said it was the first time they came across a ‘leopard curry’. Initially they thought that the cat might have been trapped in the snare accidentally put up to net wild boars. But later the accused told officials they did it deliberately to trap the big cat that strayed into their habitat and often killed their pets and cattle.
“The animal had recently killed a goat of Vinod P K, one of the accused and he and his friends laid a snare using brake cable, net and other materials. The animal was netted on Wednesday and they killed it and later distributed its meat,” said Mankulam forest range officer V B Udayasooryan. He said the animal weighed around 50 kg. The incident came to light two days later after one of the informers alerted forest officials.
Later, officials recovered 10 kg of uncooked meat and other remains of the animal from the houses of the accused. They said the accused were planning to sell the skin, teeth and nails of the big cat.
“It is a shocking incident. Killing of wild animals occurs but this is the first time we are hearing that its meat was consumed. A special investigation team will be constituted soon,” said another senior forest official. During the investigation, officials found they killed many such wild animals including boars, deer and flying squirrels like this earlier.
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