Four elephants Killed by poisoning in Assam

Guwahati, Oct 15 Four elephants, including two calves, died because of suspected poisoing near Assam's Kaziranga National Park over the past one week, sending out an alarm to the Centre and prompting the state authorities to act.

Assam Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain said in a statement on Thursday that an inquiry into the incident was on and 'strict action' would be taken against the culprits.

The statement was issued after Union Forest and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh took up the issue with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi caling for an immediate probe and action against the culprits.

Two elephants calves died of suspected poisoining at Difolu tea estate on October seven.

Bodies of two adult pachyderms, one of them pregnant, were also found inside and outside Panbari reserve forest respectively on October 11 and 12.

In all the cases, the tongues and eyes of the animals turned blue, indicating use of poison, the park authorities said.

''We suspect poison was used to kill the elephants. But it will be confirmed only after getting the forensic reports," a park official said.

However, a villager of Bokakhat in Golaghat district said it was improbable for the locals to poison elephants.

''We can't believe it. We offer prayers to elephants as god," he said.

According to reports, more than 700 people have been killed by wild elephants in Assam over the past one decade, while 300 elephants died durig this period.

Assam is the land of elephants with about 5500 pachyderms having habitat in the state, according to the last animal census report.