Jamshedpur, Feb. 1: Two elephants were found dead at a farm in Gerua village, some 12 km from here, on the foothills of Dalma wildlife sanctuary early Monday morning. Mystery shrouds the deaths of the elephants, whose carcasses were found concealed in the bushes.
According to sources, though the exact cause of the deaths could not be ascertained immediately, forest department suspects that the animals may have consumed pesticide or electrocuted. The department is waiting for the autopsy reports of the elephants, aged about 35 (female) and 10 (male).
“We are investigating as to what led to their death. These are not natural deaths, but as per the initial probe, it seems that the elephants might have consumed pesticide. However, it will be too early to draw a conclusion. We are waiting for the post-mortem report,” Dalma range officer R P Singh said.
The officer, however, did not rule out electrocution. “It is really sad to know about the death of our elephants. We will take help from local villagers, some of whom are members of the Van Samity (forest committee), to find the motive behind the incident,” he stated.
Dalma divisional forest officer Kamlesh Pandey, who visited the spot, said that viscera samples will be sent to the forensic laboratory of animal husbandry department in Ranchi. ”We are waiting for the forensic report of viscera only then things will be clear,” he said.
The post-mortem of the elephants was conducted in the afternoon at the farm itself by a government veterinary doctor from Patamda in East Singhbhum.
Local villagers assisted him in the exercise. Later, the elephants were buried there with help of a crane. Sources informed that the abdomens of both the elephants were swollen.
Local villagers, including women, assembled at the farm as the news spread. Some women smeared vermillion on the trunks and foreheads of the dead elephants.
Some also placed coins on the carcasses and performed their customary rituals.