Tragic End for 'Thaneer Komban': Probe Launched into Wild Elephant's Sudden Death

Thiruvanthapuram: “Thaneer Komban” the wild elephant that kept people of Mananthavady town in Wayanad district on their toes the other day, died on Saturday morning hours after it was tranquilised and relocated to Bandipur forest in Karnataka.

The elephant which was tranquilised and taken in an animal ambulance died at the Ramapura elephant camp in Bandipur Forest in the wee hours of Saturday. A five-member special team has been constituted by Kerala Forest Minister A K Saseendran to probe the incident.

The post-mortem was carried out at the Ramapura camp by a team of vet surgeons from Kerala and Karnataka. The post-mortem report indicated that the elephant had several injuries, pus in the wounds and other severe health complications.

Forest officials said the elephant’s health was pretty bad because of these issues. The tranquilisation and transportation could have compounded the problems.

Thaneer Komban was subjected to tranquilisation two times within 20 days. The elephant was brought to Bandipur after a 17-hour-long operation from Mananthavady.

Even though the forest officials had earlier informed that the elephant was healthy, the death occurred rather unexpectedly leaving everyone shocked. After being brought to Bandipur, the experts were about to examine the elephant when it collapsed.

Meanwhile, Wildlife activists in Karnataka have registered strong protests over the death of elephant Thaneer. They have demanded a detailed probe into the incident since there is a lack of clarity on the reasons behind the death.

A section of wildlife experts suspect that the condition of the elephant might have worsened because of dehydration. The elephant which entered Mananthavady town on Saturday early morning, went to a nearby river only once. Later it remained in a place where there was no water source. It remained without water for nearly 15 hours.

Moreover, the tranquilization shots also lead to dehydration, say elephant experts. The decrease in electrolyte levels could also result in heart attack, they added.

They said the elephant should not have been transported in the middle of the night. The elephant collapsed soon after the animal ambulance reached the Ramapura elephant camp. It could not be made to walk down from the ambulance as it collapsed and died.

A team of DFOs from Wayanad rushed to Ramapura camp to examine the elephant. Thaneer Komban is the third elephant that died in the Karnataka Forest division during the last month.

Forest Ministers of Kerala and Karnataka Order Probe

Kerala forest minister A K Saseendran said a five-member expert team will examine the reasons behind the death of the elephant.

His Karnataka counterpart Eshwara Khandre said the officials of the forest department were examining the matter. “Action will be taken if any lapses are found in the entire operation,” he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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