Bagdogra (West Bengal), Mar 4 (ANI): Forest officials spotted a dead adult female elephant in the middle of the street in West Bengal's Bagdogra Forest Range on Thursday, carrying marks of injuries on its belly.
The cause of the death is yet to be ascertained.
Visiting forest officials confirmed the elephant's death. The incident which appears to have occurred on Wednesday night in mysterious circumstances has concerned the authorities here.
Meanwhile, the wildlife doctors of the state's Department of Forestry are conducting the animal's post-mortem.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the injury might have come from a bullet fired by a long-range rifle.
"There is one injury on the belly, on the right side of the belly. And it's quite deep injury; it does not seem to be from an arrow or spear. It seems to be a bullet injury and doesn't seem to be a local bullet. But still we have not been able to get the bullet," said Sunder Lal Bahuguna, Chief Conservator of Forest Administration, North Bengal.
"But I think that it can be an elephant, something has happened, or a tusk has inserted the belly that's another possibility. But post-mortem is still going on and we don't know what has happened exactly," he added.
North part of the West Bengal is home to wild elephants and the forest range of Bagdogra sees movement of around 120 to 150 elephants throughout the year.
A national census in 2005 showed there were 25,000 to 28,000 elephants in India, including only 1,500 male tuskers of breeding age. (ANI)