The tusker, aged around 22 years, died of electrocution while attempting to venture into a paddy field taken on lease by one Durai alias Aruchamy at Semmedu near Pooluvapatti from another farmer.
Villagers heard a loud trumpeting and then found an elephant dead. They informed the Forest Department, who then rushed to the spot.
Investigations revealed that the animal had died of an illegally powered fence on the paddy field located some 2 km away from the reserve forest area. Officials said that the two elephants had come together to raid crops, but one of them escaped unhurt as it did not run into the illegal electric fence.
It also came to light that the farmer had stolen power using a wire to power the steel fence. The farmer who was in the paddy field, when the incident happened past midnight had escaped after removing the wire supplying electricity to the fence. A case has been registered against the farmer under Wildlife Protection Act and an autopsy is likely to be performed on the carcass of the animal.
Meanwhile, the unnatural death of the elephant has come as a shock to wildlife activists who have been demanding stringent punishment under non-bailable sections against those involved in such wildlife crimes.