The forest department on Saturday claimed that there is no increasing trend in the death of elephants in Coimbatore forest division. Principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden S. Yuvaraj said in a statement that natural causes such as diseases and in-fight between elephants were reasons for the death of 13 out of 14 elephants that died in the forest division since January, up to Thursday last.
Releasing details of the causes of the elephant deaths, Mr. Jayaraj said that posts in social media exaggerating the elephant deaths were not based on facts.
Another elephant died on Friday taking the toll to 15.
According to Mr. Jayaraj, the Department's further action on elephant deaths will be based on the report of the expert committee that has been appointed to study various factors linked to the deaths.
Citing records of elephant deaths from the past, Debasis Jana, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, told journalists on Saturday that the 15 elephant deaths reported in the division were not overly high.
“Except the female elephant that was found gunned down near Mettupalayam on Thursday, other 14 elephants died of natural causes. As per the trend in the past, more elephant deaths occur in the first half of the year,” he said.
According to him, 22 elephants died in 2016, 19 in 2017 and 17 in 2014. Since 2006, 187 elephants died in the forest division as of Friday, of which one third were from the Sirumugai forest range.
He added that the majority of the elephant deaths reported in Tamil Nadu were from divisions such as Coimbatore, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Erode, Tiruppur, Hananur, Mudumalai, Gudalur, Pollachi and parts of Kodaikanal.
When asked about the delay caused in registering a case under the Arms Act against the two farmers who were held for shooting a female elephant near Mettuapalayam on Thursday, a senior forest official said that efforts were on for the same. A police case was not registered against them till Saturday evening.