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Ornithologist falls to death from Kerala peak


Thiruvananthapuram, April 29

A 52-year-old ornithologist from the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History in Tamil Nadu died when he slipped and fell from a peak in the Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala, police said Tuesday.

S. Bhupathy, head of the department of conservation ecology at the Salim Ali Centre in Coimbatore, fell from the 1,868-metre Agasthyarkoodam peak located within the sanctuary in the Western Ghats.

Officials from the Neyyar Dam police station told IANS that the incident occurred Monday afternoon.

“Two of Bhupathy’s students were doing research in the area which is home to a lot of flora and fauna. He had come April 26 to assist the students,” a police official said.

“The forest area where he fell was full of bamboo plants. A bamboo pierced his left eye,” he said.

The Agasthyarkoodam peak is located about 60 km from the state capital.

The students along with locals carried his body for around 30 km to reach a motorable road.

The body was brought to the medical college hospital here Tuesday morning. The autopsy will take place Wednesday, officials said.

Bhupathy, who hailed from Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu, was with the Salim Ali Centre since 1992.

He was heading a project of the department of biotechnology for the past three years and was being assisted by two junior research fellows, an official from the Coimbatore-based centre told IANS.