Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: A day after the body of a tusker was found near Rameswar under Tangi forest range in Khurda district, a preliminary report has revealed poisoning as the reason behind the death of the pachyderm.

The jumbo death came to light after some locals came across the carcass lying in a farmland located around 100 meters away from National Highway-16.

The Pathology department of the OUAT today confirmed about poisoning of the elephant. The report claimed that the elephant is suspected to have died on account of side effects and internal haemorrhage due to poisoning. However, the type of poison which reportedly led to its death is also yet to be ascertained. To get a detailed toxicological report, the blood samples of the elephant have been sent to the Indian Veterinary Research Institute at Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.

"It seems like poisoning or a case of toxicity because the Gross lesions of the alimentary canal of the jumbo points towards the impact of agro or some other kind of chemicals. So we have sent the samples to the central laboratory for chemical diagnosis, said Susen Panda, HoD of Pathology at OUAT.

Sources said that a local resident was killed in elephant attack a few days ago and it is suspected that public outrage over the incident could have a role in the death of the tusker. It may be mentioned that public resentment has been rising in the area over the frequent intrusion of elephants into human settlements which is resulting in crop damages and man-animal conflict.

Subsequent incidents following the death of the elephant also point to the rising cruelty towards the jumbos. Wildlife enthusiasts and experts have condemned the incident of some locals reportedly taking selfies and walking over the carcass of the elephant. Many were even seen plucking out hairs from the carcass.

Subendhu Mallick, Honorary Wildlife Warden of Khurda said, "The Forest department should change its mode of action and instead of coming down hard on the officials over allegations of negligence, it should take stern action against real culprits. We have failed to provide security to animals while they were alive, at least we should not forget to honour them after their death."