Following the extension of the nationwide lockdown, reports from several parts of the country indicated a reduced number of man-elephant encounters. Though not directly linked, in the past 15 days, four elephants died in the Cavuery wildlife sanctuary in Karnataka.
Forest officials said the post-mortem report indicated that they either died of thirst or an injury as no disease was detected.
While two elephants died in the first week of April, two more were found dead on April 17, according to reports.
Dr. S. Ramesh, Deputy Conservator of Forests in Chamarajanagar district, said, “A 25-year-old pregnant elephant, which was moving along with a herd, slipped into a deep trench while another 15-year-old elephant hit a rock and fell in a river.”
In the other two cases, one animal was electrocuted after breaching into a farm while another died of dehydration.
“One of the tuskers, a 35-year-old male elephant, seems to have come in search of food and water and died after coming in contact with the electric cable of the pump set,” Ramesh added.
Karnataka, which has the highest number of elephants (6,049 as per the synchronised elephant population estimates report, 2017), nearly one-fourth of the country’s elephant population, houses the Cauvery wildlife division spread over three districts — Chamarajanagar, Mandya, and Ramanagara.
The forest officer pointed out that during summers, the elephants go in search of water to far off places and in the process the herds raid into farmlands and often get electrocuted. It is more of a man-animal conflict.
Meanwhile, a forest officer who was part of an operation to drive the herd back into the jungles in the Nagarahole national park was found dead in a water tank.
Officials said that the elephant herd turned around and charged at the guards who ran and dispersed. He could have slipped and fallen in the tank, sources said.