WILDLIFE: Search for injured tusker in Bengdubi

WILDLIFE: Search for injured tusker in Bengdubi – poaching danger ?!!

Tusker not on forest radar - victim of poaching ?!! (TT)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Siliguri, Aug. 2: Guards of Wildlife Division I have launched a search for an injured elephant spotted by army personnel inside the Bengdubi range yesterday.

“According to the description the army personnel gave us, it seems that a full-grown tusker has injuries on one of its legs. Since we got the message, we have been scouring the forest for the animal, but it is yet to be found,” said Tapas Das, the divisional forest officer (wildlife I).

Das said the guards could not spot the elephant yesterday. “Early this morning, we again went to the forest under the Kurseong division, along with vets, but failed to locate it,” said the officer.

With the search by the guards yielding no result, the forest department has decided to engage pet elephants to trace the injured tusker.

“We have sent a request to wildlife II division to provide us with two pet elephants and they are expected to reach here from Gorumara National Park by this evening or tomorrow morning. Once they arrive here, a fresh search will be launched tomorrow,” said Das.

Animesh Bose, the programme co-ordinator of the Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation, suspects the elephant might have suffered injuries because of the measures taken by the army to protect their stockyards in the forest.

“The forest area is restricted by the army personnel who take a lot of precautionary steps to protect their resources (depots storing arms and ammunition). Now the foresters have to find out the cause of the injury, which was probably caused by such protective measures,” said Bose. By protective measures, he was alluding to iron poles erected around the depots in the forest.

The foresters, however, did not want to comment on the injury until and unless the elephant was sighted.

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