Expert committee formed to study elephant deaths in Coimbatore Forest Division

Officials examine the body of an elephant that was shot dead

Officials examine the body of an elephant that was shot dead   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Following the deaths of many elephants within the Coimbatore Forest Division, including one that was gunned down on Thursday, the Forest Department has formed a seven-member expert committee to study the elephant deaths in the division over the last three years.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden, S. Yuvaraj, has asked the expert committee, which has Sheker Kumar Niraj, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), as chairperson, to submit the evaluation report on or before July 17.

Elephant experts Aiay Desai from Bengaluru, Sivaganesan from Chennai, C. Arivazhagan, managing trustee of the Indo American Wildlife Society in Chennai, veterinarians M. Kalaivanan, from Theni and A. Predeep from Chennai and D. Boominathan of World Wide Fund, Coimbatore, are the members of the committee.

Debasis Jana, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Coimbatore Circle, and D. Venkatesh, District Forest Officer, Coimbatore Forest Division, will facilitate the special committee in field inspections and by providing information required by the experts.

The committee will study elephant deaths reported in the forest division from January 1, 2017 to July 2, 2020.

The order on the constitution of the committee was issued on Thursday, after one elephant was gunned down near Mettupalayam and another one was found dead near Sirumugai forest ranges of the division, on the same day. One more elephant died on Friday, taking this year’s toll in the forest division to 15, of which eight are from Sirumugai range alone.

The committee has been tasked to investigate the cause of the death of the elephants, to study individual incidents with reference to location, to evaluate the circumstances of the death, and to evaluate the deaths with reference to habitation, diseases, natural causes and any other reasons.

The committee has been tasked to go through reports of the field officials with reference to the causes of the deaths of the elephants, and the autopsies. It should also look into the issues regarding the measures taken by the field staff to minimise the causes of deaths. It should look into elephant habitat, habitat degradation and human-wildlife conflict in the region and should also bring out the facts clearly, said the order of the Chief Wildlife Warden.

The experts should come out with a proposal to minimise or prevent the deaths of elephants with suitable preventive measures, according to the order.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 1:31:16 PM |

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