Bengal shoots rogue elephant as ‘last resort’

Kolkata, July 6 (IANS) A rogue elephant was on Tuesday shot down in the forests of southern West Bengal by authorised members as a “last resort” and as per a decision of the state government, officials said here.

“Strenuous efforts” were made earlier for two days to tranquilise and capture the tusker, they added.

Four tranquilising teams, two hunters providing protection to the teams and five “kumki” elephants (tamed and trained pachyderms) were involved in the attempts to capture the rogue jumbo which had killed one person and injured six others since 2015. The tusker was declared “extremely aggressive and dangerous to life and property”.

“On July 5, seven attempts were made to tranquilise the rogue elephant but each time it would charge the personnel and then escape into the forest in Beliatore forests of Bankura district,” Chandan Sinha, Principal Secretary of the forest department, told reporters here.

“The elephant also attacked some of our tranquilising team members and chased the hunters. Attempts across two days did not lead to its capture and lives of the team members were at risk. So the authorities decided to hunt the elephant,” Sinha added.

Sinha said the elephant was hunted down around 5 p.m. on July 5 and a post-mortem examination has been carried out. The report is awaited.

The rogue elephant’s smaller companion was captured and has been sent to north Bengal for rehabilitation.

Justifying the shooting, Pradeep Vyas, Chief Wildlife Warden of West Bengal, said the elephant-human conflict had reached an alarming situation.

“In 2015-2016, 108 people were killed and 95 injured by wild elephants in the state. A total of 14 elephants have been killed in retaliation. The last elephant killing was in 2010. We have reached an alarming situation in Bengal,” Vyas said.

–IANS

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