Guwahati, July 7: A pregnant elephant, “employed” at the Kaziranga National Park, bled to death last night after being attacked by a wild herd at Bagori range on Saturday.
Padma, who was expecting her first calf, died from internal injuries, said veterinarian Prashanta Kumar Boro.
Bull elephants usually roam the forests in search of mates and there have been instances of trained female “workers” of the park being wooed away by wild herds.
“Most female elephants get impregnated during their stay with wild herds but eventually return,” a park official said.
In Padma’s case, the bull elephants probably attacked her after failing to lure her away, he said.
“The Mikirjan camp is located in an isolated area and Padma was alone when they attacked her. She was found the next day with fatal injuries,” the official said.
Forest guards who gathered around Padma at Mikirjan camp this morning remembered how, as a calf, she used to tag along with her mother everywhere.
Padma was born in Kaziranga to Padmini, another “worker” on the park.
“She has been with us since childhood. Earlier, she used to stay by her mother’s side, who was engaged in ferrying tourists and later she began ferrying tourists herself. We will really miss her,” said Dulal Boro, a forest guard.
This is the second incident in recent times when a domestic elephant was attacked by wild herds at Kaziranga. In December last year, Gadapani, a tusker, died after being attacked by wild elephants.
Padma’s death comes at a time when the park authorities have been considering bringing in additional elephants to help ferry supplies during floods.
Elephants and boats are the only modes of transport inside the park during the annual inundation. Additional forest staff have already arrived at Kaziranga to help during the floods.
“We rely entirely on elephants and boats to ferry ration to interior camps during floods. Padma was a good worker and Kaziranga will miss her, specially during the floods,” he said.
Another forest guard said Padma had helped rangers rescue rhino calves that got separated from their mother when the park was inundated.
“Last year, she was a part of a rescue mission where we brought back a rhino calf from the Bagori range,” he said.