Pregnancy may have led elephant to drown in Mahanadi river

The adult female elephant, which drowned in Mahanadi river on the wee hours of Wednesday, was pregnant, and pregnancy may have led to her drowning.

Published: 30th September 2022 06:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th September 2022 06:19 AM   |  A+A-

Elephant image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

Elephant image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

By Express News Service

CUTTACK:  The adult female elephant, which drowned in Mahanadi river on the wee hours of Wednesday, was pregnant, and pregnancy may have led to her drowning. The heart rending information came to fore after postmortem of the elephant’s carcass was conducted on Thursday. “The elephant aged around 22 to 24 was found be 14 to 15 months pregnant during postmortem conducted by local veterinary surgeon of Buxi Bazaar in presence of experts Centre for Wildlife Health, OUAT,” said Cuttack City DFO Ajit Kumar Satapathy. After autopsy, the carcass was buried on the Mahanadi river banks as per standard operating procedure. 

Forest officials moving the tranquilised
elephant into a vehicle at Imam Nagar
near Jagatpur in Cuttack | Express

While postmortem report is yet to be received, experts opined though elephants are very efficient swimmers, the female jumbo apparently drowned as it was in advanced stage of pregnancy. The elephant would have delivered in two-three months and might had failed to swim due to weight of its womb. 

Another issue that again surfaced after the chaos that prevailed in the city is absence of crowd control measures by local administration. Even as the other adult elephant was roaming the streets, there was no cordoning off the area or even management of traffic movement. A biker had a close shave after the elephant gave him a chase. The rider shunned his two-wheeler on the road and fled to save himself.

Wildlife experts feel local police should handle such situations effectively. Police personnel must be trained to handle the crowd and ensure elephants that enter human habitations are not disturbed. A suitable diversion for traffic must be created after cordoning off the area. The police had stopped road communication without a suitable diversion resulting in halting of ambulance and other emergency service vehicles for several hours, they said. 

In another development, forest staff moved the tranquilised elephant to Angul Forest Division for translocation. The elephant calf which had moved from Birupa river bed near Jagagtpur’s Nimpur towards Choudwar was found to be heading towards Safa forest section. “A team of forest officials are closely monitoring the calf’s movement. We hope the calf would mingle with the elephant herd in the forest,” said Cuttack DFO Sanjay Swain.



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