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Efforts on to reunite rescued calf with mother

Forest officials are making efforts to reunite a four-month-old male elephant calf with its mother or the herd near Gudalur, in The Nilgiris, on Monday.

Efforts on to reunite rescued calf with mother
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The elephant calf that was rescued from the elephant proof trench near Gudalur in The Nilgiris

Coimbatore

According to officials, the calf had fallen into an elephant proof trench (EPT) they had dug some time ago close to a private estate near Mayfield, about 15 km from Gudalur town. Department personnel said that on Sunday night, tribals heard a herd of jumbos trumpeting loudly, but were too scared to come out. The next day, they noticed a calf in the EPT and alerted the forest officials. 

As the pit was nearly 5-foot deep, the calf, which was close to 3 feet in height, got stuck in it and struggled to come out, said the tribals. Officials, who carried out a rescue mission, tied the calf with ropes and pulled it out after an hour’s battle. “It did not suffer any external injuries,” District Forest Officer (DFO) of Gudalur Forest Division PK Dileep said. 

As the officials spotted a herd of five elephants in the vicinity, they tried to unite the calf with it. But, the herd chased away the calf. 

Following this, officials tried to spot the mother as calves at this stage primarily depend on their mother’s milk. But the officers also express concern that the calf might have got the scent of humans on it. So, it may or may not be accepted by the herd or its mother. 

A temporary shed has been erected for the calf to protect it from rain and shine. The calf was being monitored by forest veterinary officer E Vijayaraghavan and department personnel were continuing efforts to trace its mother. 

If the calf was not accepted then, it would be taken to the Theppakadu Camp of the department in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. But the chances of such a young elephant to survive under the care of humans would be difficult, added the officials.

Elephant dead: In another incident, a 10-year-old male elephant was found dead at Mayilmokkai in Pethikuttai Reserve Forest of Sirumugai Range in Coimbatore District on Monday. Department sources said the partly  decomposed carcass could be three to five days old. Post-mortem suggested that it could have  died of intestinal problems. Its vital organs were collected for forensic analysis to ascertain the case of death.

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