India probes death of 18 elephants 'hit by lightning'
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The dead herd was found in the hilly Kandali Proposed Reserve Forest in the northeastern India state of Assam on Thursday.
But prominent conservationist Soumyadeep Datta, from environmental activist group Nature's Beckon, said that was unlikely based on social media images.
A team of vets and officials headed to the site on Friday together with Parimal Shuklabaidya, Assam's forests and environment minister.
In recent years there have been rising incidents of elephants killed by locals -- and vice-versa -- as humans encroach further into forest areas.