Kolkata : An elephant calf chased by villagers died after its legs got stuck in the mud in a West Bengal village.
A group of villagers was chasing a herd of elephants with crackers and bamboo sticks Wednesday night when the incident occurred at Birpara in Dooars, about 700 km from here.
The calf, hardly one-and-a-half years old, could not flee and fell in the mud. The herd struggled throughout the night to pull it up from the ground, but with no success, officials said.
"We saw the jumbos trying to pull up the injured calf from the ground, but they failed again and again. Early on Thursday, when the elephants realised that the calf had died, they gradually trudged away," said Birpur Mangal Munda, a local villager.
The divisional forest officer (DFO) of Jalpaiguri forest range Kalyan Das said the calf had died of cardiac failure.
"The young elephant could not bear the exhaustion as it was suffering from heart blockage. The body has been sent for post-mortem examination to confirm the exact nature of the death," Das said.
"The calf had probably died of exhaustion and sudden shock," Animesh Basu, member of the Siliguri-based Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation, told IANS.
Meanwhile, a baby elephant which was rejected by its herd, apparently because its smelled of humans, was accepted by a captive female elephant at Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary.
The calf, hardly 15-days old, had been rescued by villagers Wednesday near Marianbari Tea Estate in Darjeeling district, about 650 km north of Kolkata, and treated by forest department officials at the Sukna rescue centre.