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Using aged jumbo Arjuna for rescue operation a big mistake, say environmentalists

Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment Eshwar Khandre has formed a committee to probe the death. The committee comprises a retired principal chief conservator of forests and other officials of the forest department.
Last Updated : 16 December 2023, 22:44 IST

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Bengaluru: Wildlife conservationists and environmentalists held a protest at Freedom Park here on Saturday, demanding justice for Dasara elephant Arjuna, who died in a jumbo rescue operation.

The protestors denounced the move by the forest department to deploy Arjuna, a retired elephant, for the operation.

Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment Eshwar Khandre has formed a committee to probe the death. The committee comprises a retired principal chief conservator of forests and other officials of the forest department.

However, the protesters are not happy with the constitution of the committee.

The protestors said, “The committee should include experts and stakeholders related to wildlife. This rule has been flouted and the members appointed are from the same department, which hampers transparent investigation.”

Arun Prasad, one of the protestors, said Arjuna’s death was the result of gifting 57 Kumki (captured and trained) elephants to different states since 2016 by the department.

Prasad said the shortage of Kumki elephants had forced the department to deploy retired jumbo Arjuna for the rescue operation.

“After a long time, the state has got an efficient forest minister. But officials in top positions are incompetent to
handle tough situations by taking the right decisions,” they said. 

Wildlife activist Joseph Hoover said 95% of the officers in the department were efficient. But the remaining 5% were incompetent and they had occupied top positions. Such officials should be sacked, he said.

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Published 16 December 2023, 22:44 IST

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