Lightning kills 18 elephants in India

Lightning kills 18 elephants in India

No fewer than 18 wild Asiatic elephants have been discovered dead in India's Eastern State of Assam.

Reports say the villagers woke up on Thursday to discover the lifeless bodies of 14 adult elephants.

Another four bodies were found scattered on the foothills of the Kundoli reserve forest area of Assam, 160 kilometres from the state capital of Dispur, local wildlife official, M.K Yadava.

Local officials have concluded that it could possibly have a link to a massive lightning strike on Friday.

The state government has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident on Friday, Assam's Forest and Wildlife Minister, Parimal Suklabaidya, said.

"A preliminary report suggests the deaths could be due to lightning although we need to find out through forensic tests if there could be any other reason like poisoning or disease,'' the minister added.

Locals, who found the elephants, said the animals could have been killed by a lightning strike late on Wednesday, a local forest ranger said, adding that he had seen burnt trees in the area.

The ranger, however, declined to be named saying he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Reuters

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