The Forest Department has ordered an inquiry into the recent deaths of calf elephants at Kodanad animal rescue centre.

The Chief Conservator of Forests (Vigilance) has been asked to look into the issue. It is suspected that there were some management issues involved in the upkeep of the calf elephants. There is also the possibility of the animals, most of them rescued by Forest officials, developing infection while being housed there. As many as three calves have died during the past few months at the centre. The officials inquiring into the death would look into these issues, said a senior official of the department.

The calf elephant, which died on Monday, was kept in the elephant kraal. It had fractured its limb while being housed at the kraal. Though the animal was given medical care, it developed infection in the fractured leg. The death might be due to infection, said an official attached to the centre.

Calf elephants will no longer be kept in the kraal. Instead they would be kept in open yards, he said.

The centre, which houses a large number of animals, lacks resident forest veterinarians. The service of the veterinarians has to be made available from Konni or other forest stations for attending the animals. Even in case of emergencies, veterinarians will have to come from distant centres. This may prove fatal for the animals, he said.

The Kodanad centre houses six elephants, including three adults.

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