Man killed by elephant Sundar, says BBP; Peta suspects foul play

Man killed by elephant Sundar, says BBP; Peta suspects foul play

Man killed by elephant Sundar, says BBP; Peta suspects foul play

Officials of Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) are now worried about what to do with Sundar, the bull elephant which attacked and killed a man on July 25 (Tuesday).

Abhilash, a Bengalurean, had trespassed inside the forest on Tuesday evening. He was trampled to death by the tusker when he went close to its kraal.

Sundar has been staying in the kraal since 2014, when he was brought to BBP by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta). His kraal is near BBP’s elephant enclosure in Seegakatte.

The park management and mahouts in BBP say the tusker’s temper is unpredictable. Since he was in captivity for a very long time, he is wary of the presence of strangers.

“Abhilash may have gone too close to the animal and Sundar, in fright, could have attacked him. No one is allowed to go close to the elephants, especially those in kraals,” BBP executive director Santosh Kumar told DH.

Kumar said they have learnt from other mahouts that Abhilash used to frequent BBP, where the elephants are housed. This area is near the Jungle Lodges and Resorts property and the Hakki Pikki Colony.  

“Abhilash knew that BBP is closed on Tuesdays. He had come with his friends. His body was found near Sundar’s kraal at 6.30 pm while those who came with him ran away. We immediately informed the police. We are also conducting an internal inquiry,” Kumar said.

Due to Sundar’s aggressive nature, he would have limited interaction with the zoo’s 20  pachyderms. “Our mahouts and veterinarians who examined Sundar also said he is aggressive. The mahouts are not confident of opening his kraal to let him graze in the abutting forest with other elephants every evening. He is only taken for short walks during the day and kept in his kraal at night,” Kumar said.
But the Peta team opines that the BBP is covering up its negligence by blaming Sundar. Dr Manilal Valliyate, CEO of Peta India, said Sundar is very calm.

“He may express his temper periodically because he is chained. However, it is not anger, but his self defence. It is possible that someone killed Abhilash and placed his body near the kraal to blame Sundar. There is a need for a thorough probe by the police and BBP staff,” he said.

About Sundar
Sundar was rescued from a temple in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, where he was chained. He was tortured and forced to beg. The Peta team found him severely injured on his limbs and eye. He had a gouged hole in his ear. The Peta team filed a case in the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court demanding his release. Celebrities, including Amitabh Bachchan and Pamela Anderson, supported Sundar’s release.

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