The 50-year-old single tusker, which was rescued on Monday, was found dead on Tuesday evening near Karadimadai.

On Monday, after receiving information that the tusker was seen in a feeble state, the Forest Department carried out a day-long effort to revive it. After administering intravenous fluids and medicines, the authorities, using a kumki elephant and an earthmover, lifted the elephant and made it stand on its legs by the evening.

On Tuesday evening, the tusker was again found lying in a feeble condition. By the time rescue and relief measures were put in place, it had breathed its last.

People from villages in and around Madampatti and Karadimadai paid homage to the tusker on Tuesday night and throughout Wednesday till officials began a post-mortem.

District Forest Officer V. Thirunavukkarasu, forest veterinarian N.S. Manoharan, Range Officers S.M. Natarajan and M. Nazir performed the autopsy.

Medical examination revealed that the death was caused by excessive parasitic load in the alimentary canal of the elephant’s biological system. Liver discoloration was also observed. Intestinal bleeding and reduced intake of food had turned the animal weak, officials said.

Liver samples were removed and would be sent to the toxicology laboratory of the Veterinary Institute in Chennai. Laboratory reports will throw light on the reason for the liver discoloration.

Preventive measures

Mr. Thirunavukkarasu said that as regards parasite factor, the Forest Department was administering disinfection tablets by putting them in salt licks created by it along waterholes. The department had carried out extensive disinfection drives to avert death of wildlife caused by parasites in problem-prone pockets such as Sirumugai and Mettupalayam and it is being done in the other four ranges as well. Having come across the death of an elephant due to parasitic load, Mr. Thirunavukkarasu said that range officers have been instructed to step up the disinfection drive in all six ranges by administering tablets through salt licks in almost all water holes in the forests and fringe areas.

This report has been corrected for a typographical error