Guwahati, Aug 30: A three-year-old elephant, which fell into a ditch in Assam's Udalguri district, died of a suspected heart attack soon after being rescued, a forest official said on Monday.
The baby elephant fell into a five-foot-deep ditch at Borengajuli tea garden on Saturday and was rescued on Sunday, he said.
"We had successfully rescued the elephant from the ditch but after a while, the elephant suddenly died. We suspect that it may have died due to a sudden heart attack," Range Officer of Bornadi Wildlife Sanctuary Kushal Deka said.
The mother of the jumbo even chased the people who came near the pit and the forest personnel had to fire 12 rounds in the air, he said. Elephants frequent the area in search of food, Deka added. Agitated locals blamed the management of the Borengajuli tea estate for the incident.
"We have urged the management not to dig deep ditches in the tea garden areas because elephant herds frequently come here. Deaths can be averted if digging of ditches is stopped," said a local wildlife activist.
An estimated hundred unnatural deaths of elephants are reported in a year in Assam. Among them, around ten deaths are the result of fall into tea garden trenches, officials said. Elephants use tea plantations as landmarks while navigating forests and as there are fewer people in tea-growing areas, pregnant females often use these as a safe haven for giving birth.