Half-tranquilised elephant wakes up, leave five forest officials injured in
The New Indian Express
November 22, 2021
A drive for radio-collaring of an elephant-in-conflict in Khurda district,
barely 60 from Bhubaneswar, was suspended temporarily on Monday after five
members of the forest team that was trying to tranquilise the jumbo was
injured s the pachyderm charged at them.
The injured included Khurda DFO Poornima P, two experts from the Indian
Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, Assistant Conservator of Forests,
Khurda and forester of Bhushandpur section in Khurda Forest Division (FD)
where the tranquilization was being attempted.
One of the injured, the forester, is under treatment while the rest have
been discharged after preliminary medical attention.
The incident took place in the morning when the forest team darted the
elephant successfully. However, the half-sedated jumbo was enraged and
charged at the team members who were monitoring its movement. The elephant
is reported to have proceeded into the forest.
“The injured were immediately shifted to AIIMS Bhubaneswar. All of them are
out of danger now,” said Regional Chief Conservator of Forest (RCCF)
Bhubaneswar Manoj Mohapatra.
The Forest Department had decided to tranquilise the tusker after they were
unsuccessful in tranquilising another jumbo, Ramu, a 30-year-old male
elephant in the Khurda forests on Sunday. The forest teams had also failed
to radio-collar Ramu during their first attempt in Bharatpur reserve forest
of Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary in September.
This tusker was chosen for radio-collaring as it was known to cause crop
damage on a daily basis. Its interaction with the human habitations had led
to death and injuries too which had prompted the Forest department to
radio-collar it for tracking its movement and behaviour.
The project for radio-collaring of elephants is being implemented by the
forest department for the first time in the state. The department has roped
in Asian Nature Conservation Foundation (ANCF) and IISc, Bengaluru for this
Forest officials said the project is aimed to facilitate tracking the
movement of elephants in the conflict in an effective way and help improve
wildlife management practices in the state.
They, however, admitted that radio-collaring of wild elephants could be
tricky if the jumbos are in growing stages or showing aggressive behaviour.
“Sedation is extremely difficult when an elephant turns aggressive during
tranquilization,” said a senior forest official.
The tranquilization will remain suspended for the time being and will be
assessed at a later stage, said a press release from Khurda Forest Division.