Mahouts flee, jumbos on fast

In dire straits


 Owned by a circus company, the elephants have been refusing food for close to 50 hours and are on the verge of perishing, while their caretakers are being searched.
The forest department seized the animals from the back of a truck bound from Bihar’s Bhagalpur to Burdwan in West Bengal.

Sources say that the elephants could not be off-loaded for 40 hours from the truck. Six were arrested during the seizure, but Mahouts caring for the elephants fled, leaving the authorities to handle the big beasts who are used to being fed only by their caretakers.
“Usually, they spend eight hours standing, but now they have been up for about 40 hours,” said Madhav Chakavorty, the circus manager, promising that efforts are being taken to feed the animals. Condition of an old elephant is said to be serious.

Dumka DFO AK Singh—while confirming the arrests of six people for ferrying the elephants without transit permission—insisted that the animals could be freed only after identification and verification of their certificates, a process likely to take 10 days. “There are no marks on the animals to identify them,” he said.

The circus company, in the mean time, is trying to trace the mahouts, who alone can nourish the elephants back to normalcy.

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