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Friday, Sep 24, 2021
Outlook.com

Pachyderm Puzzle

Drought, disease or poaching? What is killing elephants in the South?

Pachyderm Puzzle
Pachyderm Puzzle
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant The only harmless great thing.
— John Donne

THERE are two ways of looking at the death of 15 elephants in the past 45 days in the forests bordering Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. One is to view it like Mudumalai wildlife warden Sanjeev Srivastava does: "Nothing unusual about it. We've had an unusually long dry spell. The dry, deciduous vegetation probably exposed the elephants to high temperatures. Probably, they ran out of food and water." The other way is to be alarmed like Sanctuary magazine editor Bittu Sahgal is: "Good Lord! I can't believe it. It's shocking. Elephants don't live 50-60 years without getting used to the heat and the scarcities. There has to be some kind of intrusion into their lives and habits, some kind of disturbances."

And then there is a third: with India boasting nearly half the 36,000 Asiatic elephant population in the world, and the Nilgiris belt where the deaths occurred home to at least 2,000 of those, the demise of a mere dozen shouldn't have people reaching for the panic...

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