TT, Jalpaiguri, May 17: A pregnant rhino and its calf died after being struck by lightning in Gorumara National Park today.
According to sources, the carcasses of the animals were spotted by forest guards this morning.
“Both the carcasses bore burns and grass at the spot where the animals were found dead were also charred. There were thundershowers this morning and we suspect that the rhinos died after being struck by lightning,” Alok Basu, the range officer of Gorumara south range, said.
After the post-mortem, forest sources said, the vets confirmed that the rhinos had died because of lightning. They have also said the female rhino was pregnant.
“The animals died because of a natural calamity and we do not have much to do in this case. Our staff has been instructed to check the forest and find out whether any other animal has died or suffered injury because of lightning,” Uma Rani N, the divisional forest officer of Gorumara wildlife division, said.
Later today, the carcasses of two gaur were recovered from Lataguri forest and Dhupjhora village. The two places are around 15km apart.
The carcass of a leopard cub was also found in a drain in a small tea plantation in the Kauagab area of Ramsai today.
“We have ordered post-mortem on all carcasses to know the exact cause of the death of the animals,” Uma said.
The data available with the forest department show that Gorumara had 54 rhinos. After today’s deaths, the number has come down to 52.