Rogue jumbo's death: Assam wildlife experts question govt



The death of rogue elephant, Krishna has drawn the Assam Forest Department into controversy as different wildlife activists of the state have questioned if it followed the standard operating procedures while capturing it.

The rogue, nicknamed by the villagers as 'Laden', was tranquilised on November 11 and shifted to Orang national park the next day. While two darts were used on November 11 to tranquilise and capture it, another dart was used the next day to translocate the elephant.

"It was a healthy wild elephant and the government took credit for the operation to tranquilise the elephant. Now that the elephant is dead in captivity, the government must make it clear as how the elephant died?" wildlife activist and member of the steering committee of Central government on Project Elephant, Soumyadeep Datta told IANS on Sunday.

"The people of the state must know how much dose of medicines were used in the darts that were shot to tranquilise the elephant," he said.

"The government which took credit for capturing it on November 11... how can the same government be silent on its death?" he asked.

The prominent wildlife activist also asked the government to make clear the cost of the whole operation to tranquilise the rogue.

Goalpara-based wildlife activist Kripa Lochan Das, who was present during the operation to tranquilise the rogue, pointed fingers at the Forest Department for the tragedy.

"On November 11, the experts used two darts to tranquilise the elephant. Second day, another dart was used to tranquilise the elephant so that it could be translocated. I think the experts should have studied the behaviour of the elephant before tranquilising it," he said.

"It was an aggressive elephant and its age was not fit for capture," Das said.

Similarly, another wildlife activist Rohit Choudhury questioned as to who had authorized BJP legislator from Sootea constituency, Padma Hazarika, to fire the dart to tranquilise the elephant.

"The Forest Minister must make it clear if he had given permission to Padma Hazarika to dart the elephant and under what section of law? Anyone can claim that of having expertise in tackling a rogue elephant. Does that mean the government will allow him to dart the elephant," he asked.

"The government also must make clear if the Chief Wildlife Warden of Assam had given permission to Hazarika to dart the elephant? There must be action against Hazarika and the Chief Wildlife Warden must be removed from his post holding him responsible for the death," he added.

The elephant, which had reportedly killed five people on October 29, was tranquilised on November 11 and shifted to Orang national park the next day, though the Forest Department had initially decided to release the rogue in the wild.IANS