A herd of 18 wild elephants was fatally killed in the central Assam district of Nagaon on Thursday after a major ‘lightning,’ officials said.
Confirming the incident, Nagaon district Deputy Commissioner Kavitha Padmanabhan said that a team comprised of officials from the conservation, forest, and veterinary departments visited the forest areas on Thursday to determine the exact cause of the deaths.
“Until I receive the reports from the official team, I am unable to tell how many adults, female, and calf elephants were killed,” Padmanabhan told IANS over the phone.
The incident happened on Wednesday night in the mountainous Kandali Proposed Reserve Forest, according to forest and wildlife authorities (PRF).
According to Assam’s Chief Wildlife Warden M.K. Yadava, 18 elephants have died, with lightning being the most probable cause of death.
He mentioned that the precise cause will be revealed only after Friday’s post-mortem examinations of the deceased animals.
Local residents told forest officials that the carcasses of the deceased elephants had been dispersed in the deep forest region.
Yadava said that while lightning strikes animals frequently and five elephants died recently in West Bengal as a result, Wednesday’s incident in Nagaon is massive and heinous.
There have been instances of man-animal violence in the district.
Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNP & TR), designated as one of India’s seven UNESCO world heritage sites in the geological and environmental group in 1985, is also located in five Assam districts, including Nagaon.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Chief Minister of Assam, and Parimal Suklabaidya, the Minister of Environment and Forests, have expressed their condolences over the demise of 18 elephants.
Suklabaidya was requested by the Chief Minister to visit the scene and send a report to him about the incident.
Suklabaidya, according to an official release, will visit the site on Friday morning with the forest and other officials to assess the situation.
According to the minister, a team of forest and veterinary officials had already paid a visit to the region.