270 Elephant Deaths in Kerala, Says Animal Rights Campaigner
Government says animal rights campaigner’s report of 270 dead wild elephants in Kerala is an “exaggerated” figure.
Kerala forests have become a ‘graveyard’ of wild elephants with as many as 270 deaths being reported this year since January, according to an animal rights campaigner, a figure which is contested by the government.
According to figures released by Thrissur based Heritage Animal Task Force, as many as 40 per cent of the dead animals were males and 60 per cent were females.
The carcasses of 125 elephants had been reportedly found in the forests of Valparai, Athirappally, Vazhachal, Idamalyar, Pooyamkutty, Idukki and Munnar region, it said. The report also said that a total of 32 carcasses had been spotted in Malappuram district while 41 were found in south Wayanad forest areas, 37 in north Wayanad and 35 in Parambikulam, Palakkad and Walayar forest areas.
From poaching to intake of plastic and poisonous articles and electrocution caused the death of wild elephants in Kerala forests. There are ample hideout areas for poachers in many forest regions in Kerala. Lack of enough wildlife guards is one of the major reasons for the presence of poachers in the forest areas, which share borders with neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.VK Venkatachalam, Task Force Secretary
The activist also said 30 per cent of the carcasses of wild jumbos were found in areas near water bodies, which clearly indicate that they may have consumed poisonous food items from encroached plantations and farmhouses inside forests.
However, the state Forest Department feels this is an ‘exaggerated’ figure. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests OP Kaler said “As per our figures, a total of 97 elephants have died in the state forests during the period 2014-15. The exact figures of wild jumbo deaths of this year will be available only by March. I think, the figure of 270 wild elephant deaths is an exaggerated one.”
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