Assam to tranqualise 'rogue' elephant that killed 5

Assam forest department on Monday issued an order to tranqualise the rogue elephant, which killed five persons on October 29 in Goalpara district triggering panic among residents. (DH photo)

Assam forest department on Monday issued an order to tranqualise the rogue elephant, which killed five persons on October 29 in Goalpara district triggering panic among residents.

The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya here which was attended by senior forest officials, wildlife and veterinary experts.

Sailendra Pandey, public relations officer of the minister, said, "the decision was taken to tranqualise and translocate it (the elephant) to a safer location to prevent further disturbance."

Sources said, "the decision was taken after efforts by kunkis (trained elephants) to chase the rogue elephant deep into the forests did not yield any result." 

Drone cameras located the elephant at Chatabari reserve forest in western Assam's Goalpara district on Friday. Forest officials said, "the male elephant could be in a state of musth caused by sudden rise in reproductive hormones, when an elephant turns very aggressive and often resorts to destroying forests or crop land or targets human settlement. All five people, including an 11-year-old boy, who became its target lived in the same locality in Matia area in Goalpara district."  

The district shares a contiguous forest with Garo hills in Meghalaya and movement of elephants are common. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had earlier instructed the department to take immediate steps to prevent further disturbance.

Human-elephant conflict has increased in Assam over the years and according to information furnished by the state government in the Assembly in February this year, 761 people died in jumbo attacks since 2010 while 249 elephants also died during the same period.

According to the Elephant Census 2017, of the 27, 312 elephants counted in 23 states, Northeast and North Bengal were found having 10,139 jumbos. Assam's jumbo population was found to be at 5,719. Meghalaya and AP were found having 1,754 and 1,614 elephants respectively.

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