I tried to piece together their story …. That the elephant family had been subject to a deadly assault was obvious. And by comparing the wounds, I guessed that the calf was the target as its wounds were far worse.

elephant in Kabini

Elephant Calf

But who was or who were the perpetrators of this gruesome act? Man? It seemed unlikely, as only the foolish would attack an elephant calf with its family. But it is possible that they could have got injured while being driven away from a village or crop field. The wound on the adult elephant’s trunk could have been inflicted with a machete by someone from the safety of a machan but how about the wounds on the calf’s head? They had to be inflicted from a close range.

elephant at Kabini

The Injured Calf

The only other plausible explanation that came to mind was a Tiger attack. Tigers are known to attack and kill elephant calves, and this could be one of those rare instances. The gash on the female’s trunk could also have been inflicted by a Tiger when she came to her calf’s rescue. The fact that this was a small family also gave weight to the Tiger theory.
The Tiger would have been more circumspect if it was a larger herd. However, I was not fully satisfied with either explanation. The wounds on the calf were very bad, and I was not certain that a Tiger could inflict such wounds; I have never seen an elephant calf kill.

The forest department was informed about the calf, and they did come and rescue it, but were unable to save its life.  The audience in the colosseum enjoyed the spectacle of gore and death. I did not enjoy this.