Kozhikode (Kerala) | The rogue elephant, which was captured after hours-long mission in Wayanad on February 2 and transported to Karnataka, has died, Kerala Forest Minister A K Saseendran said on Saturday.
Terming it as 'utmost painful', the minister said the news about the animal's death has shocked everyone.
The tusker was darted with tranquiliser shots twice before being loaded onto a truck with the help of kumki elephants for being transported to Bandipur in Karnataka on Friday night.
Earlier, it strayed into Mananthavady town in Wayanad and created panic in the area.
"After reaching Bandipur in the night, it was decided to conduct an examination before releasing the jumbo back into the forests," he told reporters here.
But, it is understood that the elephant was dead before the examination, the minister said.
Noting that the exact cause of its death could be ascertained only after the post-mortem, Saseendran said it was not appropriate to comment based on speculations.
Clarifying that the entire mission carried out by the state forest department to capture the strayed elephant was "transparent", he also said directions have been given to complete the rest of the proceedings also in such a way.
The Karnataka authorities have consented to include a representative from Kerala in their expert team which would conduct post mortem of the jumbo, the minister added.
Called as 'Thanneer Komban' by locals, the elephant was captured more than 16 hours after it entered Kerala on Friday.
Four attempts were made to dart the elephant and two of them were successful, according to a senior forest official.
A huge crowd had gathered in the area to watch the jumbo being brought to the truck.
Besides locals, forest and police personnel were also present in large numbers to ensure the operation was carried out safely and smoothly.
After around 10 pm, the pachyderm was loaded onto the truck with the help of the kumki elephants.
Kumki elephants are captive pachyderms used in operations for trapping and capturing other elephants.
The elephant was calm and composed throughout and did not attack anyone or cause any major property damage.