A five-year-old elephant, who was found with a fractured jaw in the Attapaddi Reserve Forest, died on Friday night.
According to Sunil Kumar, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Mannarkkad in the state's Palakkad district, the elephant was spotted near a tribal settlement in the buffer zone yesterday.
Tribals found the elephant and informed forest officials, who on inspection discovered injuries on the left side of its mouth.
The DFO said, "It does not look like injury from a blast. However, we can ascertain the exact cause only after post mortem." He added that not much cultivation takes place in the area where the elephant was found.
The officials said that they tried their best to save the elephant but it died last night.
However, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wild Life) and Chief WildLife Warden Surendra Kumar said they suspect that the elephant could have bitten into a cracker filled coconut or some fruit.
"There are three possibilities that could have led to the animal's death...There were injuries in the elephant's mouth and it could be due to the animal consuming
cracker filled coconut or some fruit. It had a tumour in the stomach and was also suffering from pneumonia," he told PTI.
The elephant is suspected to have strayed from the neighbouring Tamil Nadu forests as it had not been spotted earlier in any herds by forest officials so far, the
The Tamil Nadu forests is hardly two to three km from the area where it was found, he said.
The animal's post-mortem was conducted this morning.
Dr Arun Sakaria, Chief Forest Veterinary Officer, said "the animal had a fractured mandible, had a split tongue and was suffering from pneumonia.It also had a tumour in the abdomen.
"We have collected the samples and sent it for forensic tests.Samples have also been submitted for toxicology test."
According to him, though there are no external injuries, they were not ruling out the possibility of the elephant consuming a cracker laden fruit which could have exploded in its mouth.
Last month, a pregnant elephant in the district died after suffering a blast injury on the mouth.
(With inputs from PTI)