BHOGESHWAR: The tusker with the longest tusks among Asian elephants — is no more. One of the most popular jumbos for tourists in the Kabini backwaters, Bhogeshwar, 60, died due to age-related issues.
The gentle giant was a regular sight for tourists at Nagarahole and Bandipur Tiger Reserves. He was a sight to behold for tribals and locals living in the region.
According to forest department officials, Bhogeshwar was found dead in the Gundre Range of Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) around 9.30 am. BTR Director Ramesh Kumar told The New Indian Express that an autopsy conducted on the animal has confirmed that he died due to natural causes and had no injury marks.
Foresters on the ground however said Bhogeshwar's health began deteriorating a week after he had a fight with another tusker last week.
As per procedures laid down by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the tusks of the jumbo were removed and sent to the Mysuru depot for further examination. The carcass has been left for vultures to feed on in the same area where it was found dead which is in line with the forest department's tradition vis-a-vis wild animals found dead in the forests.
Bhogeshwar's tusks, according to forest department officials, measures 2.58 metres and 2.35 metres. Though they were crossed towards the end, they never hindered the tusker from eating, swimming or splashing around in the Kabini backwaters.
The tusker was named Bhogeshwar by the forest department staffers and tribals after he was frequently sighted near Bhogeshwar camp, where a temple and an anti-poaching camp are located. “Many tourists would be thrilled and satisfied on catching a glimpse of him, even if they were not able to sight a tiger in Kabini. The tusker has also featured in several wildlife documentaries and films made by the department and some private organisations,” said a forest department official.
Officials said they are looking into record books to ascertain whether Bhogeshwar had the longest-ever tusks.