‘Madukkarai Maharaj’ died due to multiple fractures on the forehead

The tranquilised wild elephant, nicknamed ‘Kattayan’ alias ‘Madukkarai Maharaj’, which died at the elephant camp at Varagliyar near Top Slip on Tuesday, two days after it was captured, had suffered multiple fractures on its forehead and other injuries while trying to free itself from the kraal, a post-mortem examination has revealed.

The animal that was tranquilised and captured at Madukkarai on Sunday was taken to the camp and lodged in the kraal the same evening. Its broken tusks, marks left on the heavy wooden logs of the kraal bore testimony to its desperation to escape into the wild.

A portion of the left trunk was broken to pieces as it violently hit the wooden sides of the kraal. It also suffered minor injuries on the side of its eye and legs. During its act two thick wooden logs on the kraal’s sides and a portion of the basement were broken. Persons at the camp present during the last few minutes of the animal said that the jumbo was violent from the time it was locked in the kraal. Around 4.10 p.m. on Tuesday it hit a wooden structure hard, fell down and died in the next five minutes, leaving its trunk out of the cage.

District Forest Officer (Pollachi) V. Subbiah told The Hindu that six camp elephants and around 20 forest personnel including elephant men and handlers tried to pacify the animal, but in vain. During its 46 hours in the kraal it had very less fodder but is said to have eaten some sugarcane and coconut leaves. For the rest of the time it tried to get out and was violent.

While there was suspicion that it could have died of a drug overdose, a team of four veterinarians led by Additional Director of the Animal Husbandry Department (Pollachi) S. Thirukumaran, who conducted the post-mortem, confirmed that the animal suffered multiple fractures on its forehead and a torn muscle (few centimetres long) at the forehead.

Post-mortem examination was conducted on Wednesday evening by the team of doctors in the presence of a committee formed by the Field Director of Anamalai Tiger Reserve V.T. Kandasamy.

Animal Welfare Board of India’s authorised representative Ishan Korgaonar from Worldwide Veterinary Service, Member of the State Board for Wildlife K. Kalidas from Osai were among the representatives of various organisations who witnessed the post-mortem.

Vital organs from the animal were collected and will be sent to a laboratory in Hyderabad for forensic analysis. The remains of the animal were then buried on the Varagliyar Camp premises.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 4:13:34 PM |

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