Ailing female elephant dies in Nilgiris district

Jumbo operation:The elephant that collapsed in Gudalur, Nilgiris, on Sunday and, right, forest officials trying to rescue it.Special arrangement  

A female elephant died inside a human settlement in Cherambadi near Pandalur in the Nilgiris on Sunday morning.

C. Manoharan, forest range officer (in-charge), Cherambadi Range, said the elephant, said to be between 25 and 30-years-old, had been unwell for the past three days and was straying close to the human settlements near Padacheri in Pandalur.

In search of food

Forest watchers had been posted to monitor its health and to prevent humans from getting too close to it. However, on Sunday morning, it tried to enter a house in the area, possibly in search of food or water, forest department officials said.

As the animal was weak, it is believed to have fallen on a compound wall of a house, and was unable to get up. Forest department staff, informed of the incident, rushed to the spot.

After finding it was still alive, officials asked forest veterinarians for their advice on how to treat it. “Using a crane, we managed to get the elephant back on its feet, and decided to move it to a forest patch near a water source on a flatbed truck, hoping that with medication and other assistance, the animal would recover,” said Mr. Manoharan.

However, shortly after it was moved, it began having spasms and died, he added. Forest department officials said more than 10 forest department personnel, and two rangers, including Mr. Manoharan and P. Ganeshan, forest range officer, Forest Protection Squad, were involved in the efforts to treat the animal for more than three hours before it finally died.

Veterinarian K.P. Prabhu performed the post-mortem. While officials said the actual cause of death would only become known later, they believed that the animal was unwell and unable to eat, causing it to lose weight. They said it was in an emaciated condition when it was spotted a couple of days ago.