Updated: January 23, 2021 8:07:12 am
An elephant has died near Ooty due to severe bleeding caused by a burning tyre thrown at it by local residents on January 8. Two days after its death, Tamil Nadu Police on Friday arrested two people in this connection.
According to a senior forest official, the elephant was attacked on January 8 after it had damaged a luxury car parked at Mavanahalla near Masinagudi. A video of the attack emerged on social media, following which an investigation was conducted.
“They threw a tyre filled with kerosene at the elephant, which was already being treated by the forest department for a deep back injury,” he said.
LCS Srikanth, deputy director of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (Buffer Zone), who is in charge of the area, said they booked one more person and he was out of station.
“The two persons detained were arrested today and will be sent for remand,” he said.
The arrested have been identified as Reymond Mallan Malcolm (28) and Prasath Sugumaran (36). According to local residents, the elephant was attacked after it came close to a resort run by Malcolm.
The residents said people from the resort frequently used to call the forest department to chase the elephant away from residential areas, and have accused the forest staff of not monitored the animal properly.
Nilgiris District Collector J Innocent Divya confirmed that orders have been passed to seal the resort.
Vijay Krishnaraj of the Nilgiris-based United Conservation Movement (UCM) Movement, said the injured elephant was being treated for about 45 days by the forest department. “They were administering medicine and feeding fruits. While handling it was tough, there was one forest watcher who was taking care of the elephant all these days,” Krishnaraj said.
The forest official and Krishnaraj said the reason for the death was severe bleeding. “After they threw the flaming object, it had damaged the ear lobe leading to severe bleeding. There were efforts to save the animal but it died on January 19. Similar incidents are increasing in Mudumalai region,” said Krishnaraj, referring to the poisoning of two tigers recently.
An autopsy report revealed that it had severe injuries on the back and burn injuries on the ear.
Meanwhile, Bellan, 55, an anti-poaching watcher at Mudumalai Tiger Reserve who was assigned to take care of the elephant, has been unable to control his tears since its death.
“We named the elephant ‘SI’ because it walked like a strict police officer. SI frequently visited our village before and it never did any harm to the villagers… Its condition was getting better and the forest department employed four more employees to monitor it with me…
“One night, SI wandered away towards Mavanahalla in search of food… The people at the resort treated it badly and threw a burning tyre on it,” Bellan told The Indian Express.
“It was tired, had lost a lot of blood and was in pain. Two veterinary teams tranquilised it with the help of Kumki elephants… We tried to shift it to Theppakadu Elephant camp, about 1 km away… But we just lost it,” he added.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines