A tale of an elephant (Bangladesh)


Neil Ray, The Financial Express

Date Published

An Indian elephant, carried along by strong current of flood water to Bangladesh, has been making news for more than a month now. It crossed over to this side across the Roumari border of Kurigram. Currently the area it is roaming about is Sharishabari upazila, a flood-affected locality, under Jamalpur. Three Indian wildlife experts have arrived to rescue the elephant and take it back home.

Bangladesh is extending its full cooperation to the three-member Indian rescue team. A 17-member team has been staying nearby the elephant in order to closely monitor its movement. The picture published in different newspapers gives the impression that the pachyderm is young and not very large.

It surely is not a rogue male elephant which usually leaves a herd to live on its own. This member of social animals may have got separated from its herd by accident. Highly intelligent, elephants usually do not attack anyone unless human beings cross their paths threatening them. Encroachment by man has gone far too deeper in the forest to invite their wrath.

This stray animal also did not attack anyone until it was enraged by the failed attempt to rescue it. One person of the hundreds of enthusiasts watching the manoeuvre was attacked at the time. There are, however, complaints that it has left a trail of damage done to some crops and property in the area it has been roaming about. No locality is ideal for such a forest animal’s living. The elephant has been struggling hard to survive the hostile environment and reception it gets for its unwanted appearance.

Elephants need water -a huge amount of it -to drink daily. The woolly mammoths perished in the Ice Age simply because they did not have enough water to drink, reveals recent research. This small descendant of the mammoths, in fact, has far more water than it needs. Rather, its problem is excess of water and hardly any dry place for taking rest. Yet its survival instinct has kept it wading through a wide submerged area.

Reports had it that the elephant was becoming weaker because of lack of food. That was sure to happen in a flood-affected area. When flood engulfs any area, crops, vegetables go under water, leading to crisis of foods. If people suffer from their daily supplies, animals-particularly a stranger like a wild elephant can hardly count on adequate supply of its huge amount of leafy foods.

People in the locality consider this unwanted visitor a trouble but at the same time, they are likely to be inquisitive about it too. After all, it is not always that they come across such a large animal. Initially, some of them tried to forcibly drive it away and they were hardly kind enough to go about the business. In some of the pictures published, there are marks of wound on the animal’s body.

Evidently, it had difficulty taking rest or sleep when people were after it. Now that the rescue team is keeping a close watch, it can perhaps take its much needed rest and sleep. Sure enough, people have become aware of the need for protection of the wildlife. Had it not been the case, an adventurous or applause-seeking person would have shot it dead immediately after it was sighted in the area.

Today people can appreciate animal conservation. A successful collaborative rescue mission will further lend a helping hand to the promotion of wildlife conservation.