Forest officials on the trail of injured elephant

Udhagamandalam Oct. 3. Even before they could come to terms with the recent death of a four-month-old male elephant calf, which got separated from its herd, Forest officials in the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary near here have been forced to go in pursuit of a female elephant with an injured foreleg.

Since spotting it a few days ago, the officials have been on the trail of the pachyderm to examine it at close quarters.

The Wildlife Warden, Ashok Upretti, told The Hindu here today that despite the injury, apparently caused by a wire noose, the 25-year-old animal moved fast, making it difficult for the Forest staff to tranquillise it.

Three teams were formed to track the elephant and a few kumkis (working elephants) were kept ready to `escort' it to the camp, if necessary. The animal, which was part of a herd, was now alone. However, it was neither agitated nor posed a threat to the other animals or the people.

The Forest personnel would leave the elephant in the wild if its injury was serious, Mr. Upretti said.

On the cause of the calf's death, Mr.Upretti said its wind pipe was damaged and could not eat. As it could not keep pace with its herd, it lagged behind and eventually died.

Meanwhile, a recommendation of the district administration to the Forest department to set up a professional animal care centre in the Mudumalai area to treat wild animals has been welcomed by all sections of the society.

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