COIMBATORE: The carcass of a female elephant calf, seemingly stillborn, was found at the Sembukkarai forest near Anaikatti on Tuesday morning. The calf's death may have occurred three days ago. The carcass was spotted by forest staff on perambulation duty and they informed forest officials.
Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests I Anwardeen, Coimbatore district forest officer, former joint director of Animal Husbandry department NS Manokaran and Coimbatore forest veterinarian A Sugumar carried out an inspection.
Sugumar said that they suspect the animal could have died due to birth-related complications. "This is natural in the forests. It is not an alarming sign. We should only be concerned if a few more calves die in a similar way," he said.
Postmortem could not be not performed as most of the carcass had been consumed by wild boars. Including this, 18 wild elephants have died in the Coimbatore forest division this year. Of the 18 elephants, eight died in Sirumugai, four in Mettupalayam, two each in Boluvampatti and Periyanaickenpalayam and one each in Karamadai and Coimbatore forest ranges.
Meanwhile, chief wildlife warden S Yuvaraj visited the conflict-prone Thadagam area along with the district forest officer and assistant conservator of forests M Senthil Kumar and WWF landscape coordinator S Boominathan. They climbed up to Anuvavi Subramaniyar temple, located on the hillock. Officials showed them the corridor frequented by elephants leading to the hillock.
The Coimbatore forest division has decided to write to the district collector K Rajamani to order brick-kiln units to avoid using coconut stems in fuelling the brick-making process, as the stems attracted the wild elephants and caused human-elephant conflict. Earlier, brick-kiln units were using palm piths. This has reduced drastically after repeated appeals from the forest department.
However, the chief wildlife warden did not visit Sirumugai and Mettupalayam forest ranges where most of the elephant deaths have occurred. Meanwhile, the forest department released a drone video of movements of wild elephants captured at Sirumugai forests, on Tuesday.