The iconic, oldest tusker in the Yala National Park, Thilak, was killed in a tussle with another elephant named Kabila (Thani Dalaya) in Sithulpawwa last Wednesday.
As the largest tusker among some 120 tuskers in Sri Lanka, the 60-year-old Thilak was the centre of attraction for tourists who visited Yala. His massive tusks curved inwards in a cross making him well known.
Veterinary physician Dr. Ananda Dharmakeerthi said that heavy injuries to the abdomen during the attack by the other elephant may have led to Thilak’s death.
Local environmentalists say it is rare for a 20-year-old elephant to take on a tusker as big and senior as Thilak. Former Deputy Director of the Wildlife Department, Dr. Nandana Attapattu, explained that altercations among elephants emerged when they tried to dominate a particular territory.
Dr. Attapattu said as many as 10 tuskers were killed by poachers and hunters in the past.
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