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Two baby elephants found dead in Kerala stream

     Thattekad (Kerala): Residents and forest officials found the bodies of two baby elephants that probably slipped and drowned in a steep upstream due to heavy rainfall near Thattekad bird sanctuary in Kerala. Officials presume that bodies slipped due to very heavy rainfall the night before, which had led to temporary flood-like-situation in the region. "The incident took place mainly due to rainfall and heavy currents in the water. This is a steep region and a high waterfall area. Both the babies must have slipped and flown over, that is the reason we assume deaths have happened," said Thomas Varghese, forest ranger of the Thattekad Bird Sanctuary. There were no heavy cut marks on the bodies except a small scar on the forehead on one, caused due to hard hitting on the rock and some blood stains were found coming out of the trunk. Many jungle logs were also found near the bodies of elephant babies in the stream. Hundreds of captive elephants are booked in advance by organisers of fairs and festivals in southern India to attract people that often cause accidents. Home to 60 per cent of Asia's elephants, India has the highest death rate from human-elephant conflict in the world, with 200-250 people and 100 elephants killed annually. Habitat fragmentation, poaching of tusked males, and patchy forest law enforcement are behind their decline, but their numbers have slowly been rebounding. Experts claim that massive deforestation, poaching and people encroaching upon forest corridors have forced elephants to move out of their natural habitats in search of food and water.
-August 22, 2009

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