Forest department rejects misfire claim, says Dasara elephant Arjuna
stepped on sharp piece of wood (Karnataka)
BR Udaya Kumar, The New Indian Express
December 7, 2023
The death of famed Dasara elephant Arjuna in a tussle with a large tusker
in a rut during a special operation, gave rise to a host of speculations,
including that he was a victim of a misfired bullet from a forester. People
from across the board contributed to different theories.
However, the forest department refuted these theories Speaking to TNIE,
Deputy Conservator of Forests Mohan Kumar, who was supervising the elephant
operation to fix radio collars on rogue elephants, said that Arjuna was
suffering from severe pain, owing to a major injury on his right foot.
The elephant was injured after stepping on a sharp piece of wood while
fighting with a rogue elephant. He fought fiercely, despite continuously
Brushing aside the theory of misfire during the operation, he said that a
forest official stood far away from the operation area and fired in the air
to scare the rogue elephant away when it instead intensified its charge at
The forest staff only carry a double-barrel gun for self-defense during
such operations. The doctors didn’t find any bullet injuries on any parts
of the pachyderm’s body during the postmortem, he added.
Animal lovers had alleged that Arjuna was injured due to a misfire after a
video surfaced in which Vinu -- his handler -- reportedly stated that the
elephant was injured in this manner during his confrontation with the rogue
The issue should be probed and action was accordingly taken against the
officials who took part in the operation, they demanded.