Dasara elephant of yesteryears found dead

Kanthi, the 75-year old elephant, that had retired from jamboo savari, was found dead at the Kalkere Forest Range of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve on Tuesday. 

Kanthi had last participated in the procession as a Kumki elephant in 2012. The Forest department staff, who discovered the decomposed body of the animal, suspect that the elephant might have died about 10 days ago. Pug marks found around the remains of the animal indicated that tigers might have preyed on the animal.

Kanthi, which was at the Rampura elephant camp, is said to have gone missing about a month ago. Elephants are regularly allowed to graze in the forest after they are fed in the morning at the camp. However, Kanthi had not returned from the forest.

“The elephant had not returned after it was released into the forest for grazing. Her remains were found about 150 metres from Tiger Road at Kalkere range,” H C Kantharaju, Director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve said.

According to some sources, the movement of the jumbo was restricted as its leg had become entangled with the chain. Unable to move or free herself, the elephant died of starvation. However, officials have rubbished the theory and said that the elephant died of age-related complications. Kantharaju said that Kanthi was the oldest elephant in Rampura Elephant Camp and had died of natural causes. Dr Umashankar, veterinarian of the Department, said that bone samples of the carcass had been sent to Bangalore, to conduct a bone marrow analysis on the cause of death.

Kanthi had taken part in operations to capture tigers following the mauling of three persons in Hediyala Forest Range during December 2013. She was also part of a recent failed operation to capture a tiger, which attacked a youth at Kalasur Village in H D Kote taluk.

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