COIMBATORE: A team of staff from Gudalur forest division on Saturday stumbled upon a skeleton of an elephant aged 10-12 years, with its tusks intact, at gold mines near Pandalur in Nilgiris district. While patrolling in the area, the team noticed the pair of tusks sticking out of slush in a suspected gold mining pit. Upon taking a closer look, they found that it was attached to the skeleton of an elephant.
According to sources, it is suspected that the jumbo fell into the pit around six months ago when it was roaming in search of food and water. However, the forest department staff could notice the skeleton only on Saturday. To examine the skeleton, the forest division engaged David, a private veterinarian, as government veterinarians are engaged in capturing and tranquillising MDT 23, the elusive tiger, at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR).
“In his examination, the veterinarian found that there was no bullet injury on the animal’s head and skeleton. We suspect that the elephant died around six months ago after falling into the pit which is more than 20 metres deeper. It could not be a case of poaching as the tusks are intact on the skeleton. We have registered a case under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, and further investigation is underway,” a forest department official said.
The concerned pit is located just a kilometre away from another pit at the gold mines where a team of forest staff rescued a one-month-old female elephant calf on October 5. The calf was then reunited with her mother. These incidents show the frequent movement of wild elephants at gold mines. Hence, the government has been urged to closed the alleged illegal mining pits.
Masinagudi tiger remains elusive
Coimbatore: MDT-23, the tiger which allegedly killed four human beings and over a dozen cattle, remained elusive on Saturday as the Forest Department continued the search in the surroundings of Masinagudi in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR). Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Neeraj said, “We have searched for the animal at four different areas on Saturday. However, we could not spot the animal.”