At least 18 elephants were killed after being struck by lightning during a thunderstorm in India’s northeastern Assam state this Thursday.
Local residents found the carcasses of the elephants in a forest and alerted the authorities.
“This is a very sad incident, such incident has never occurred in the forests of Assam. Today in the afternoon during rainfall, a thunderstorm occurred and it was so intense that 18 elephants died in the forest,” said Assam’s Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya.
The incident happened in the hilly Kandali Proposed Reserve Forest in the Forest Department’s Kathiatoli Range.
“The local staff said 18 elephants have died and lightning is most likely the cause,” Assam’s Chief Wildlife Warden, M.K. Yadava told The Hindu.
There have been cases of lightning striking animals down. A bold hit five elephants in West Bengal some time ago, but 18… This is huge.
Officials said a team of veterinary doctors and other wildlife experts have left for Kandali and are expected to reach the spot by Friday morning.
The team is expected to examine if there are other reasons behind the death of the elephants as the district had cases of man-animal conflicts. [The Hindu]
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