Animals that move in herds are always in danger during lightening as they instinctively make a tight formation to save their calves and become one entity and in the process become one conductor of electricity especially when they are either on the top of the hills or in a vast open field, becoming the tallest object of that area and attract the lightening for which the animals don’t survive.
Unlike the elephants which were killed due to lightning in Nagaon, similar incidents happened across the world. 323 rain deer died at one go in Norway on 26 August 2016.
Moreover, a 40-year-old elephant died after it was struck by lightning at a Pattaya elephant camp earlier this month.
Mahout Somnuk Tidsandod, 46, reported May 7 that he found the carcass of Boonklong under a tree. The elephant had electrical burns on two ankles, the exit point for the lightning.
Veterinarian Padet Siridumrong, an elephant specialist from Nernplabwan Animal Hospital, concluded the elephant was struck while chained in the woods.
Standing under a tree with a metal chain is one of the worst places to be during lightning-filled thunderstorms like that which occurred recently.
Pattaya Elephant Camp owner Pairat Chaiyakum said he regretted the death of the pachyderm. Elephants have been idle during the coronavirus pandemic, with the camp’s only income from a coffee shop.
13 elephants remain in the camp after the death of the elephant.
Another incident was reported in Sri Lanka as four elephants, including two calves, were killed by lightning in the northern part in one of the worst wildlife tragedies to hit the country in years.
A female elephant, aged about 25 years, and two of her calves, aged 10 months and two years, and an eight-year-old female were found dead just outside the Wilpattu wildlife sanctuary, an official said.
“Villagers from neighbouring areas alerted the authorities and we carried out autopsies,” wildlife veterinary surgeon Chandana Jayasinghe said. “The deaths were caused by lightning,” the reports said.
Local villagers in Mahavilachchiya, 250 kilometres (156 miles) north of Colombo, had reported heavy rains accompanied by thunder and lightning in the shrub jungle area on Friday when the elephants were thought to have been struck.
It was the worst natural disaster involving elephants since February 2011 when four baby elephants drowned in a major flood in the north-east of the country.
Elephants are venerated in the mainly Buddhist country and they are a highly protected species. Elephant deaths must be investigated and death certificates issued before disposing of the carcasses.
Despite tough conservation laws and the elephant’s association with Buddhism, nearly 200 jumbos are killed each year by villagers after accidentally straying onto farmland, while the animals themselves kill about 50 people each year.
Sri Lanka’s elephant population has reduced to just over 7,000, according to a census five years ago, down from a population of over 12,000 at the start of the 20th century.