Kozhikode: Elephants in the forests of Kerala are dying all too often. In fact, 283 wild elephants died in just two-and-a-half years. They were found dead between January 3, 2021 to June 28, 2023 in the forests and fringe areas and strangely over half of them were tuskers.
The most number of elephant deaths were reported from Kuttampuzha (17), Idamalayar (12), Athirappilly (10), and Adimali (10) forest ranges.
The dead included 129 female elephants; the gender of five could not be identified as the carcass was badly decomposed when found.
Latest suspicious cases
The Forest Department has initiated a detailed investigation after five elephants died recently due to unknown causes. Its Vigilance wing has recommended to the Chief Wildlife Warden to carry out a proper examination of the internal organs if elephants are found dead.
These five deaths reported from the Aralam and Devikulam areas were deemed to be suspicious by the authorities. Though elephants have died here due to electrocution and firecrackers, the cause of the death of these five could not be ascertained.
After finding the carcass, the forest department officials raised suspicions of poison traces in them. In Aralam and Devikulam, the forest vigilance wing had carried out checks near the carcass using the dog squad.
At least 32 elephants were reportedly killed due to poaching in the state during 2014-16.