Two wild elephants have died of suspected poisoning in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, officials said on Monday.
A forest department spokesperson said that carcasses of a pregnant elephant and a male calf were found at Borbhetagaon in Karbi Anglong district bordering Kaziranga National Park late on December 12 evening. Post-mortems were conducted by wildlife veterinarians from the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation in Kaziranga.
“Preliminary investigation shows that the cause of death of the elephants is due to suspected poisoning. Cases have been registered under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972,” the spokesman said.The spokesperson said that 70 elephants have died due to various causes so far this year.
He said that while three wild jumbos died due to poisoning, 18 others died due to lightning, 24 natural deaths, 17 unknown reasons, train accident four, electrocution three and one succumbed to death due to injury.
According to official records, over 91 elephants have been electrocuted in Assam between 2011 and 2019. In May, 18 jumbos were killed by a lightning strike in Nagaon district. With the second largest elephant population in India after Karnataka (6049), Assam is home to 5,719 Asian elephants according to the last census conducted in 2017. However, due to deforestation and fodder crisis, human-elephant conflict is rising in Assam.
A total of 890 humans have died in human-elephant conflicts during the last 10 years in Assam, with Sonitpur district recording the highest deaths at 124, followed by Udalguri district at 118 and Goalpara district at 78. This year itself, over 100 people, including women, have died, so far, due to elephant attacks in various parts of Assam, according to wildlife officials.