By K. S. Sudhi
Carcasses of three animals found floating in rivers
Experts have called for scientific investigation into the cause of frequent elephant deaths in the areas of Malayattoor Forest Division in the district.
Carcasses of three elephants were found floating in the rivers that flowed through the division during the last 10 days. Of the three, two were calves and the other one was a female. The carcasses were found at Pooyamkutty, Bhoothathankettu and Perunthode regions of the division.
Forest officials said the animals might have slipped into the water while crossing the streams. Heavy rain was recorded in the forest sector for the past few days. There was also the possibility of animals slipping off the rocky terrains in the forest sector, said a senior official of the Malayattoor Forest Division.
Other possibilitiesJohn Peruvanthanam, an environmentalist, said nearly 20 elephants had died in Pooyamkutty forest during the last one year. The possibility of animals poisoned by illegal brewers and forest encroachers could not be ruled out, he said.
‘Accidents possible’P.S. Easa, director in-charge of the Kerala Forest Research Institute, Thrissur, said there had been instances of elephants dying while attempting to cross the rivers during rainy season. Accidents were possible when animals move across slippery hilly terrains during heavy showers, he said.
Dr. Easa called for scientific investigations to find out the cause of death of the animals including disease or poisoning. Analysis of viscera samples could throw light on the cause of death of the animals, he said. E.A. Jayson, a wildlife scientist of the Institute, said the elephants used to move from the woody forests to grasslands during heavy showers. Accidents can happen during these movements. Forest terrains would become slippery during the rainy season and the animals might lose grip leading to accidents, he said.
Infections?On the possibility of some infections in animals, Dr. Jayson said elephants were susceptible to illness such as foot-and-mouth disease. Veterinarians should be able to easily identify the infected animals from their very external appearances, Dr. Jayson said.
Suneel Pamidi, Divisional Forest Officer, Malayattoor, said the elephants might have accidentally slipped into the water leading to their death. Tissues of dead elephants were collected for chemical analysis, Mr. Pamidi said.