BANKURA, 3 MAY: The body of a female elephant was recovered from the Beliatore forest range here this morning, amidst reports that the elephant had died following prolonged sexual abuse by a herd of jumbos.
Residents of Nityanandapur heard an elephant groaning in the wee hours of the morning and rushed to the spot in the Gangabandh jungle in Beliatore.
Two on-lookers, Mr Karan Duley and Mr Bikash Ghosh, said they saw a group of five elephants including a cub raising their trunks in the air circling the sick eight-year old elephant.
After the five elephants disappeared into jungle, villagers went closer to the sick elephant, and discovered that it was dead. Members of the local forest protection committee brought the matter to the notice of senior forest officials.
“The female elephant was attacked by the herd, and the five elephants were seen sexually abusing it over the last two days,” said Mr Nabo Ghosh, a member of local Forest Protection Committee.
Dr Nityagopal Dey, a veterinary surgeon, was taken to Gangabandh to conduct an inquest of the dead elephant. Dr Dey said: “The external part of the elephant’s uterus was heavily injured…The wound appeared to be at least two months old and had turned cancerous.”
Senior forest officials, however, remained unsure about the dead elephant being sexually abused by the five-member group. Mr Kulyan Deviyal, DFO, Bankura (north), said: “Elephants stay away from mating during the hot summer months, with the normal mating season being November-February. As the inquest report suggests, the wound was two-three months old. However, we did not receive any report on a female elephant being overpowered by a group in the jungles.”
“The 5-member group is a part of the principal herd of elephants from the Dalma range, which has been staying in different forests in Bankura since the last four months,” he said.
Sixty-seven members of the herd have moved towards Patrasayar, leaving five elephants behind in the Beliatore range area, he added.