A pregnant elephant and tusker were found killed in what seemed to have been a fiery battle within the herd in the reserve forests near the Palar-Porundhalar dam on Saturday, forest officials said.

The carcass of a six-year-old male elephant was found near Kallar Odai, a forest stream, and 15-year-old pregnant female elephant 300 feet away.

The male had grievous injuries on the chest and deep wounds on the back. There were also bruises and cuts on its trunk and near the chin. A dead foetus was sticking out of the female’s stomach, suggesting that it was in a very advanced stage of pregnancy.

Palani Forest Ranger P. Ganesan said the male elephant could have died in a stiff battle with its counterpart.

Fights among male elephants are common during mating season. But, the official could not give any reason for the death of the female elephant. Even complications in delivery might be the reason, they suggested.

Local people said no one could go near the carcasses as wild elephants often visited the spot and guarded them.

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