An elephant believed to be less than 8-years-old died after getting stuck in a sewage pit in a private resort built along the notified elephant corridor at Bokkapuram on Thursday.
Forest officials believe the elephant got stuck in the sewage pit at the ‘Wild Inn Resort’ in the Singara Forest Range in the Nilgiris North Forest Division late on Wednesday. Locals said they heard the piercing screams of the elephant more than a km away, but the resort management failed to inform the department till Thursday morning, resulting in the death of the animal.
S. Kanthan, Forest Range Officer, Singara Range, said the cement block used to cover the pit had caved in when the animal stepped on it. The animal managed to climb out, but as one of its hind legs was stuck, it was unable to extricate itself. It is believed to have remained paralysed with one leg in the pit for over six hours.
The incident exposes how “illegal” resorts are affecting local wildlife in the area. S Jayachandran, Joint Secretary of the Tamil Nadu Green Movement, said only two resorts in the area had licence. Other resorts, including the resort where the elephant died, were functioning illegally. “We expect strong action, including the arrest of the resort owners for their negligence in causing the death of the elephant,” he added.
S Kalanidhi, District Forest Officer, Nilgiris North Division, said a case had been registered by the forest department for negligence.
“We will act against the persons concerned once we fix culpability, and after the completion of the post-mortem,” he said.
After spending an entire day trying to figure out how to extricate the carcass from the sewage pit, the forest department staff decided to use an earth mover to shift it.