Lhakpa Quendren

Gelephu – A female elephant, approximately 20 years old, met a tragic end at the confluence of the Shetikhari stream and Mauchhu in Gelephu yesterday morning.

The incident happened approximately 450 metres below the Gelephu-Zhemgang highway.

Gelephu gup informed forestry officials about the incident after being alerted by a local resident who spotted the lifeless elephant at around 8am.

Initially, the observer assumed that the elephant might have been mired in the mud due to its prostrate position.

The resident who discovered the elephant expressed, “I spotted the elephant when my husband and I were returning after sending our cattle to pasture. We did not approach it, fearing it might still be alive, and promptly reported it to the gup.”

Veterinary experts from the Regional Veterinary Hospital and Epidemiology Centre in Gelephu collected blood samples to investigate the cause of the elephant’s death.

However, as of last evening, the results were still pending.

Foresters from the Gelephu Range Office noted that there was no evidence to suggest that the elephant had roamed extensively before succumbing, as it was found in a prostrate position at the site.

A forester said, “Upon inspection, it was observed that a group of elephants had moved to a distance of about 100 meters from the aforementioned site.”

An external examination of the deceased elephant’s body revealed no significant physical injuries, aside from a minor cut on one of its fingers.

There were also signs of liquid discharge from both the mouth and anus.

Some residents speculated that food poisoning or ingesting cement might have been the cause of the elephant’s tragic demise.

According to locals, the dead elephant was one of five elephants in the area that had been eating bamboo shoots in the settlements along the Shetikhari stream in Pelrithang Khamaed under Gelephu Gewog.

The disposal of the elephant’s body will be determined once the forest department team arrives at the site in the coming days.

Monks and the pandit performed short prayers for the deceased elephant at the site.