Spate of elephant deaths at Karnataka's Sakrebailu camp cause concern

Since January 2017, as many as eight elephants have died at the Sakrebailu elephant camp. | File   | Photo Credit: M.A. Sriram

The spate of deaths of elephants at Sakrebailu elephant camp near Shivamogga has become a cause for concern.

26-year-old Naganna died here on August 23. Stomach ache and problems with the digestive system are said to have caused the death. The elephant was caught in December 2017 for straying into human habitats in Ubrnai forest of Channagiri taluk and was tamed at Sakrebailu camp. Naganna was the cynosure of all eyes at the camp.

Since January 2017, as many as eight elephants have died at the camp of which two deaths were due to age-related illness, two died due to injuries sustained when attacked by other elephants, while the others succumbed to health problems.

In addition to Naganna, in 2019, three cubs, Bajaji, Bharathi and Sharada died due to health problems. Ajaykumar Sharma, environment activist, told The Hindu that deaths due to injuries and health problems could have been averted if proper medical care was given.

Veterinary doctor

At present, the department has appointed a veterinary doctor to treat elephants in the camp.

The service of the veterinary doctor is availed during human-animal conflicts in four districts — Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, Davangere, and Chitradurga — to tranquillise wild animals that have entered human habitat and to treat the injured wild animals.

Mr. Sharma said if the doctor is on field work, he will not be able to attend to emergency situations in Sakrebailu. A dedicated veterinary doctor should be appointed for the camp, he said. The veterinary clinic at the camp should be upgraded by providing necessary facilities and medicines to treat the injured and ailing pachyderms, he added.

The tamed elephants in Sakrebailu spend major part of the day grazing in Shettyhalli wildlife sanctuary. Mr. Sharma said barring their mahout and kavadi, the elephants don't like the presence of other humans. In the wake of the deaths, it is also necessary to cancel the annual Ane Utsav in Sakrebailu, where elephants are made to parade before a large crowd, hit the football, and spray water from its trunk, Mr. Sharma said.


Referring to the incident of an elephant from Sakrebailu that had fallen ill after it was taken to Shivamogga city in 2017 to take part in the Dasara procession, he said incidents of using elephants from the camp for processions should be avoided as they get stressed and are vulnerable to infections. At present, Sakrebailu camp has 24 elephants.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 3:40:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/spate-of-elephant-deaths-at-sakrebailu-camp-cause-concern/article29292155.ece

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