Liver disease reason for eight elephant deaths in single reserve forest of
Coimbatore division over two years
Wilson Thomas, The Hindu
May 12, 2022
Liver disease is said to have been the major reason for the death of eight
wild elephants in over a period of two years in a single reserve forest
(RF) of Coimbatore Forest Division, namely Pethikuttai, bordering the water
storage areas of the Bhavanisagar Reservoir.
Already, seven elephants that died in Pethikuttai RF of Sirumugai forest
range from 2020 had liver disease as per post-mortem findings. A tusker
aged between 12 and 13 that was found dead in Pethikuttai on Wednesday too
had liver disease, said A. Sukumar, Forest Veterinary Officer of Coimbatore
Forest Division who autopsied the carcass on Thursday along with two other
“The tusker’s liver had nodules. It is suspected to have died of hepatitis.
Already many elephants have died of liver disease in Pethikuttai,” he said.
The portion from the tusker’s stomach to rectum was empty and it seemed to
have not taken fodder for over a week, he added.
As per a study conducted by the Forest Department, a total of 16 elephants
have died in Pethikuttai since 2020 of which eight had liver disease. This
year alone, four elephants died in Pethikuttai and three including the
tusker that was found dead on Wednesday had liver disease.
Following the continuous death of elephants in Pethikuttai, the Department
recently tasked a five-member veterinary team headed by Dr. Sukumar to
study reasons for mortality.
The team in its report had suggested the Department to send samples
collected from elephants during post-mortem to the laboratory at the Sálim
Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON), Anaikatti, for
District Forest Officer T.K. Ashok Kumar said a set of samples collected
from the tusker that was found dead on Wednesday would be sent to SACON for