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Over 280 elephants perish in Kerala over past 2.5 years

Elephants in Kerala’s forests face an alarming death toll, with a staggering 283 wild elephants perishing in just two-and-a-half years. From January 3, 2021, to June 28, 2023, these elephants were discovered lifeless in the forests and surrounding areas, with an unsettling revelation that over half of them were tuskers.

Among the various forest ranges, Kuttampuzha recorded the highest number of elephant deaths with 17, followed by Idamalayar (12), Athirappilly (10), and Adimali (10).

Of the deceased elephants, 129 were females, while the gender of five remains unknown due to severe decomposition. This concerning situation has prompted the Forest Department to launch a comprehensive investigation into the recent deaths of five elephants, which were categorized as suspicious. The Vigilance wing of the department has recommended a thorough examination of the internal organs in case of future elephant fatalities.

These recent deaths occurred in the Aralam and Devikulam areas, where the cause of mortality could not be determined, despite previous instances of elephants falling victim to electrocution and firecrackers. Forest department officials, upon discovering the carcasses, expressed suspicions of possible poisoning, leading to the deployment of dog squads for investigation.

It is distressing to note that poaching has also taken a toll on Kerala’s elephants, with reports indicating that at least 32 elephants were killed between 2014 and 2016. These incidents underscore the urgent need for conservation efforts and stricter measures to protect the magnificent elephants that inhabit the state.

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