What’s causing elephant deaths in Tamil Nadu?

With 15 elephants dying in Tamil Nadu in a short span of time and activists demanding action to stop this trend, the government has ordered a detailed investigation into the issue.

Late last week, in two tragic incidents that occurred in different parts of Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu, a middle-aged female elephant and a young male elephant were killed.

The first was a case of man-animal conflict that occurred near Mettuplayalam, the foothills of the famed Ooty hill station. The second incident occurred in the Mudumalai tiger reserve, where an elephant died of electrocution in an accident.

Forest officials in Tamil Nadu have found an elephant who was gunned down in the Mettupalayam forest range in Coimbatore district.  The elephant’s postmortem report shows a small wound on the animal’s left ear. This wound goes up to the brain.

The report said a corrugated sharp edged metal piece was found embedded in the elephant’s brain. Two people have been detained in this case so far.

Two people, both brothers, taken into custody for questioning in connection with the Kandiyur case, were arrested for shooting the elepthant to death in their farm in Mettupalayam.

The forest department on Saturday claimed that there is no increasing trend in the death of elephants in Coimbatore forest division. Principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden S Yuvaraj said in a statement that natural causes such as diseases and in-fight between elephants were reasons for the death of 13 out of 14 elephants that died in the forest division since January, up to Thursday last.

Releasing details of the causes of the elephant deaths, Jayaraj said that posts in social media exaggerating the elephant deaths were not based on facts.