Tamil Nadu/ Kerala, May 15: As the south Indian states undergoing one of the worst droughts in the past century, the situation has become so bad that the wildlife in the state has been affected too, with several wild elephants dying due the heat. The death toll of jumbos has been on a steady rise in the last few months leaving many animal lovers and environmentalists perplexed.
This year, the toll has already increased to 18 in Kerala and 8 in Tamil Nadu in just four months. There is lack of water and balanced nutrition, the rain can save elephants now said Ramasubramanian, DFO Coimbatore Forest Range.
Forests in the region haven't received adequate rain. Elephants are a species that consumes up to 200 kg of food every day. When they do not get adequate nutrition due to lack of fodder and water, they grow weak and eventually die.
Survival of the fittest
In summer, there is scarcity of food and water and hence, only the fit will survive. With no fodder, water, the weak usually cannot withstand the condition and thus fails to make it through the heat. The process is natural and paves way for a stronger generation. But, what's disturbing is that humans are making the situation worse.
Special arrangements made for wild animals
In a bid to prevent further deaths of the wild animals, the administration has constructed six to eight water troughs in each region of the forest. Most of the animals are heading towards Kerala where the grass is greener.
Conversationalists opine, if the annual death of elephants increases to more than 2 percent, is is a reason to worry. The reproductive rate of extremely low. Humans are commercially exploiting the forest and the animals are dying too quickly. Everyone including the public living in the city is to be blamed.
Long term measures needed
It is high-time we started looking at long-term measures. It is said that a substantial part of the forest area is covered by the weed. Once we remove it, it will aid the growth of fodder for elephant. It's time the public, NGOs and government officials address the issue at war footing and pave way for stronger generation. We should prevent the forests from drying up and protect ground water and natural reserves.