Mahout crushed to death under tusker in Kerala

Mahout crushed to death under tusker in Kerala

A mahout had a tragic death in Kerala on Sunday after the elephant he was taking care of sat on him.

Arun, the main mahout of tusker Bharth Viswanathan died while bathing the elephant at Karappuzha in Kottayam district. 

According to the CCTV visuals of the incident, while bathing the elephant, the mahout instructed the elephant to sit on the floor. As the tusker was sitting, the mahout's legs slipped and he fell beneath it. Without noticing this the tusker sat on him.

Local people said that the whole weight of the tusker fell on the mahout, especially his head. The mahout's assistants who were nearby rushed to the spot and made the tusker stand up. They rushed the mahout to a nearby hospital. But the doctors pronounced him dead. Serious head injury was the prima face cause for death.

The mahout Arun was a native of Alappuzha district. He was the chief mahout of the tusker which was owned by a Kottayam-based businessman.

Meanwhile, there were allegations that the 33-year-old tusker was under musth and wounds were inflicted on it to suppress the musth.

Musth or must is a periodic condition in bull elephants, characterized by highly aggressive behaviour and accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones.

Elephant's welfare activist V K Venkitachanlam told DH that the elephant was taken to a temple festival in Thrissur a couple of days back. Even then, the elephant was showing signs of musth. But the mahouts suppressed it by inflicting wounds on it.

He also said that in the CCTV footage of the tragic death of the mahout also, it could be seen that the mahout was beating up the elephant as it was showing reluctance to obey the instructions to sit. There was a similar incident of mahout being crushed to death under another elephant in Thrissur in 2003, he said.

During March - April season, a lot of temple festivals take place in Kerala. Elephants are paraded while ignoring the restrictions despite a series of incidents of them running amok and claiming lives.


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