Baby elephant drowns in Pinnawela elepahnt orphanage




By Gandhya Senanayake & Karunarathna Athukorala A baby elephant had drowned at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage Saturday evening, officials said. It drowned after the foot of the baby reportedly got trapped in stones in the area which led to the drowning in the Ma-Oya, they said. Senior Assistant Director Renuka Bandaranayke told Daily Mirror Online that the body of baby elephant had been sent to the Veterinary faculty of the Peradeniya University for the postmortem and that they were waiting for the autopsy report. A police and administrative inquiry into the death is also underway by officials. According to witness reports the elephant calf had got trampled by an adult elephant before getting trapped underwater and drowning. Several eyewitnesses said that although mahouts were warned by bystanders that an elephant calf was drowning no action had been taken and the warnings were disregarded. The drowning had only come to light after the herd had come ashore after the bath in the river and a count was taken. The whereabouts of the elephant that drowned was also revealed by bystanders. In January this year several mahouts, an Animal Protection Officer was suspended while the Assistant Director of the Orphanage was transferred after an elephant died under tragic circumstances, allegedly due to injuries caused by its caretakers’ spear. (Daily Mirror online)