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Pesticide Kills 15 Wild Elephants

September 15, 2001

GAUHATI, India (AP) _ A banned pesticide used by villagers in remote northeastern India was blamed Saturday for the death last month of 15 wild elephants.

Investigator Kushal Konwar Sharma said forensic tests revealed the presence of the pesticide Dimecron in the elephants’ carcasses, which were discovered in and around Nameri National Park in Assam state.

Wildlife authorities have ordered a probe to find out how the villagers procured the pesticide, which is banned in India but used by some farmers to control disease-spreading insects.

It was unclear whether villagers angered by the trampling of paddy fields and the destruction of homes intentionally poisoned the animals, Sharma said. The elephants may have grazed in fields where farmers spread Dimecron, he said.

Assam is home to more than half of India’s 10,000 elephants. Their forest habitat is rapidly disappearing.

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