By Pinak Priya Bhattacharya
JALPAIGURI: An 18-year-old female elephant, which was brought to Jaldapara National Park last November from the Alipore Zoo in Kolkata and was trained as a kumki (a trained elephant), died recently due to dehydration triggered by diarrhoea.
The pachyderm, Uttara, went inside the forest recently with other elephants to get fodder from the jungle. It is a common practice in the pilkhanas (where the elephants are kept) to send kumki jumbos to forest along with their trainers everyday to collect food in the form of dhadda, chepti, malsa and other types of grass.
It's suspected that the jumbo had eaten something poisonous inside the forest or drunk water from a contaminated pond that led to the stomach infection. "We explored all options to save the animal. We administered medicines and gave her saline. But she succumbed to the ailment," said Bimal Debnath, assistant wildlife warden of Jaldapara National Park.
Elephant expert Parbati Barua said, "Though change in diet sometimes triggers such problems, in this case, the elephant was brought to Jaldapara eight months back and it had been surviving on fodder from the jungle. I suspect it had consumed something inside the forest which it couldn't digest and fell ill."