Wildlife Vets Come Under Fire In Karnataka Over Wild Animal Deaths Back To
M B Girish, Deccan Chronicle
December 5, 2023
Recently, a leopard died in Bengaluru city during its rescue operation
conducted by forest officials and the death of the leopard was attributed
to 'inexperienced' veterinarians handling of the situation. The leopard was
shot dead during the rescue operation.
Again, similar allegations of mishandling of situation have been made
against wild vets after two elephants have died during elephant capture
operations undertaken by forest officials in Hassan and Chikkamagaluru
districts of Karnataka in a span of three-days (on Saturday and another of
Monday). Following the deaths, wild life enthusiasts doubt the efficiency
of the personnel especially wildlife vets in conducting jumbo capture
operations and question whether Standard Operating Procedures were followed
by the forest personnel in jumbo capture operations.
A wild jumbo died during its capture operation in Chikkamagaluru on
Saturday late night while a tamed elephant Arjuna lost its life after he
was attacked by wild tuskers during an elephant capture operation in
Yasalur range of Hassan on Monday. Hassan is a chronic man-elephant
conflict region in Karnataka.
In an elephant capture operation in Mudigere taluk of Chikkamagalauru on
Saturday, a wild tusker aged about 40 years died after the animal was
darted by wildlife vets engaged in its capture operation. Wildlife
enthusiasts allege that the capture operation was conducted in late evening
on Saturday while as per the protocol capture operations should be held in
daylight and after the jumbo was darted in the dark, forest personnel could
not track the sedated jumbo on time which led to its death.
"Usually, jumbo capture operations are held during the day time and it
becomes easy for the personnel to track the jumbo after its darted. But,
here the operations were conducted late evening," a wildlife
conservationist of Chikkamagaluru questioned "What was the need to dart in
Explaining the reason for darting the jumbo in the cover of darkness,
Deputy Conservator of Forests, Chikkamagaluru Ramesh Babu told Deccan
Chronicle on Tuesday that forest personnel waited to sedate a wild jumbo
identified as a trouble-maker in Mudigere region and as the jumbo could not
be sighted in the day. When it was sighted, it was dark and forest
officials thought it was the right moment to dart it.
Ramesh Babu stated that after the jumbo was darted, the animal fell and its
head hit a tree and its trunk also got injured which made it difficult for
the jumbo to breathe and succumbed to its internal injuries.
In another death of a jumbo during capture operation, Arjuna, a famed
elephant which carried golden howdah during Mysuru Dasara jumbo savari for
eight times, came in for attack from a wild jumbo during elephant capture
operation conducted in Yasalur range of Hassan district on Monday leading
to its death.
Wildlife conservationists pointed out that Arjuna was aged 64 years and
tamed elephants after 60 years are retired and rested in elephant camps.
They questioned the rationale of the forest officials to press aged Arjuna
into elephant capture operation.
However, a press release from Hassan Deputy Conservator of Forests Mohan
Kumar stated that a wild elephant in musth (increased testosterone and
heightened aggression) attacked tamed elephant Arjuna during elephant
capture operation in Yasalur range of Hassan on Monday and said wild
elephant, a robust one, was undeterred by firing in the air and it came
Wildlife conservationists stated that when an elephant is in musth state,
no capture operation should be conducted as per the protocol but here the
forest officials have gone to capture a bull elephant in musth state a
clear violation of the Standard Operating Procedure.
A wildlife lover Vinod Kanchur of Mudigere demanded an investigation into
the death of a wild tusker in Mudigere and alleged that vets engaged in
darting the jumbo have erred in darting the jumbo and the entire elephant
capture operations was conducted in an "unscientific manner." Meanwhile,
Minister for Forests Eshwar Khandre felt the need to impart proper training
for forest personnel in capture and rescue of wild animals.