Efforts on to rescue elephant (India/Bangladesh)


The Daily Star

Date Published


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The wild elephant that entered Bangladesh from India on June 27 would be taken to the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Safari Park in Gazipur after its rescue from a char area in Jamalpur.

A joint rescue team comprising forest and veterinary officials from Bangladesh and India followed the elephant for almost the whole day yesterday. But they did not get a suitable place to tranquilise the animal, said forest officials.

“Once we rescue the elephant, we would take it to the Safari Park in Gazipur for its medical examination and treatment as it has been moving in the water for days,” said Wildlife Inspector Ashim Kumar Mallick of the forest department.

“Later, we would decide the place where the elephant would be released,” added Mallick, who has been monitoring the elephant for more than two weeks.

 The joint team could not rescue the elephant yesterday also as it did not come out of the water apparently noticing a huge number of curious onlookers nearby.

“Once the elephant comes out to a dry place, we will tranquilise and carry it to the Safari Park on a truck. But it hardly comes out to the land,” said Ashim.

Earlier, at a press briefing at the Jamalpur Circuit House around 10:30am yesterday, retired conservator of forests Rithesh Chandra Bhattacharjee, one of the three members of the visiting Indian team, said they were finding it difficult to rescue the elephant, weighing around four tonnes, from the flood-hit char (shoal) area in Jamalpur, reports our correspondent there.

“Unless they find the elephant staying on dry land for long, they won’t go for the rescue operation,” he said.

“So it may take some time to start the rescue operation.

“When the congenial situation comes, we will tranquilise it, take it on a truck and then either take it to the Bangabandhu Safari Park or to Gajni area in Sherpur to let it go into the Garo hills of Indian Meghalaya state,” he said.

The two other members of the Indian team are Goalpara district Forest Officer Suleman Uddin Choudhury and veterinary professor KK Sarma.

The rescue team has also urged people not to gather near the elephant as it might hamper the rescue operation.

The wild elephant got separated from her herd in Assam and entered Kurigram’s Chilmari upazila, floating with the currents of the Brahmaputra river, on June 27.

Since the elephant entered Bangladesh, it has travelled over 300 kilometres of riverine routes in the last 39 days.

During the days, it was seen frantically moving from one place to another.

Currently, the elephant is in a char area of Madarganj Upazila in Jamalpur.