Guwahati, India: When investigating the incident Thursday, officials from northeastern India said that at least 18 elephants were suspected to have been killed by lightning in northeastern India.
Forest officials and a local lawmaker, Jitu Goswami, told AFP they believed the pachyderms died after lightning struck a forest in Nagaon district in central Assam during a storm on Wednesday.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a statement that he was concerned about the deaths of such a “huge number of elephants”.
“Deeply pained by the death of 18 elephants last night due to massive thunderstorm under Kothiatoli Range in Nagaon,” Assam s Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya tweeted, adding that he would visit the forest with wildlife officials on Friday.
Forest officials said four elephant corpses were found on Thursday.
India has nearly 30,000 elephants, accounting for about 60% of the total number of wild elephants in Asia.