Thiruvananthapuram: Over 100 elephants, 85 of them non-captive, have died in Kerala in the last nine months due to various reasons, according to an animal rights outfit.
A total of 106 cases of jumbo deaths have been reported across the state during the period and unreported deaths will take the toll higher, the Kerala-based Heritage Animal Task Force said.
Of the total wild elephants that died, 12 were male, 60 female, three 'makhnas' (tuskless male jumbos) and 10 calves, the statistics compiled by the outfit said.
However, the Kerala Forest Department officials said they cannot confirm the figures as they are yet to compile a full-fledged data on the death of elephants this year.
"We are yet to compile the elephant mortality data of the current year. We can say a final word on this only after collecting complete data from each forest division," O P Kaler, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest told PTI.
"But, even if the total number of 85 wild elephant deaths is true, it is normal rate going by the total wild elephant stock of the state which is 6,177 as per the 2012 census," he said.
As far as Kerala is concerned, the mortality death of wild elephants up to two to three per cent is normal, he said.
"As many as 35 wild jumbos had died in the state forests during 2013-14 registering 0.57 per cent mortality. In 2012-13, 47 wild jumbos died and the mortality rate was 0.76 per cent. Even if it is true that 85 wild jumbo have died this year, the mortality rate will be 1.37 per cent, which is normal," he said.