‘Jai Singh’, once the pet elephant of dreaded dacoit Dadua of the Bundelkhand region, will soon be part of the forest patrolling team in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.
Jai Singh was rescued by forest officials in Satna (Madhya Pradesh) in October while it was being taken to Gujarat for illegal sale.
The elephant, frail and weak, was handed over to Uttar Pradesh Police, which then gave it to the forest department.
It was eventually brought to the Dudhwa elephant camp and forest officials said that the elephant will be a part of the forest patrolling team in the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve after its training is completed in January.
Jai is currently undergoing treatment and being cared for at the centre.
The 25-year-old elephant’s health is improving and he is no longer branded as ‘rogue’. Jai had earlier often gone on the rampage in Chitrakoot, destroying houses and properties.
Dudhwa Field Director Sanjay Pathak said, “Jai Singh was unwell when he was brought here in October. We have completed all the required tests and started treatment. The tusker is now behaving well.”
Pathak further said, “After Dadua’s death, his son Veer Singh, a former MLA, was in possession of the elephant. The jumbo was rescued while it was being transported to Gujarat. Veer Singh had failed to produce documents proving ownership of the elephant following which the Madhya Pradesh forest department seized the animal and sent it here for upkeep.”
Shiv Kumar Patel a.k.a. Dadua, had bought Jai from a fair in 2002.
After Dadua was killed in an encounter with Uttar Pradesh STF in July 2007, his son Veer started looking after the elephant.
“Dadua had bought this elephant but he never sat on its back. He used to take good care of it though. After Dadua’s death, we always saw Jai tied with chains,” said a local resident.