The weak elephant was unable to consume food and stood motionless for a few hours at Marappalam area before collapsing to its death around 7am. The tusk-less male, fondly called ‘bull dozer’ by villagers in both Tamil Nadu and Kerala, was a frequent crop raider and had also damaged a few houses. His deteriorating health came to the fore a fortnight ago near the Marudamalai locality in Coimbatore. The ailing jumbo was treated by the Forest Department with antibiotics, glucose and medicine; however, the elephant could hardly consume any food and it later retreated to Kerala.
There too, the elephant was treated by the Forest Department before being let into the wild. Even then, the officials observed that the elephant’s injuries were fatal, it was in extreme pain and the animal would not survive long. The elephant again returned to Tamil Nadu and was spotted at Devarayapuram on the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border on August 27. As the animal turned aggressive due to pain, the people in border villages were cautioned and asked not to venture in the dark.
An official of the Coimbatore Forest Department said that the exact cause of the mouth injury could be ascertained only upon receiving the post mortem report. “It could have been hurt even due to infighting or some infection,” said an official.
A post mortem was carried out by a joint team of veterinarians from Coimbatore and Kerala. Following the death of the animal, the tribal people in Kerala paid floral tributes and offered fruits to the elephant.