A middle-aged couple from Ahmedabad was trampled to death by a wild elephant in Kerala’s Periyar Tiger Reserve on Wednesday.
Bhupendra B Ravel (52) and his wife Jagriti (50) were killed by the elephant while they tried to click its photo during a trek in the Gavi forest region in the PTR. The camera flash is said to have provoked the elephant. The couple, accompanied by a forest tour guide, was on a trekking trip organised by the Kerala Forest Development Corporation.
Gavi, close to the Sabarimala temple, is a deep forest and has in the past few years emerged as a key centre for tourists interested in wildlife and forest trekking. Since there are a lot of wildlife including tigers and elephants in Gavi, there are restrictions on visitors and trekking is allowed only on the package run by the KFDC, which has arranged accommodation and other facilities for visitors within the forest.
Nearly two months ago, a woman tourist from Gujarat, was trampled to death by a tamed elephant at Thekkady, which is located in the PTR. The young woman was killed in front of her husband and young son while taking a selfie along with the elephant after a ride on the elephant. Elephant ride is popular with tourists visiting Thekkady. Following the accident, elephant ride was stopped.
A senior official of the Periyar Tiger Reserve said the couple’s family in Ahmedabad had been informed of the disaster and the bodies would be released after official formalities.
The couple’s death is likely to hit tourist arrivals at Gavi and also lead to more restrictions on tourist access into the deep forest. Gavi is also home to an immigrant community of Sri Lankan Tamils who had been displaced from their home country decades ago.