Forest Department denies negligence in handling elephant (Chennai, India)


The Hindu

Date Published

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In a reply to a petition from the People For Cattle in India (PFCI), the Tamil Nadu Forest Department has stated that there was no negligence on its part in handling Madukkarai Maharaja, which died in June.

In a petition to the Chief Minister, the PFCI, urging the government to look into the matter, said that the death took place under mysterious circumstances.

“We had further asked for better measures to safeguard elephants as in the case of a man-animal conflict,” said Arun Prasanna, PFCI founder.

Early in June, the department had decided to capture and relocate the male elephant, which had been raiding crops and reportedly killed a forest guard.

In a statement, the District Forest Officer of the Coimbatore Division said a kumki elephant, Kaleem, along with forest officials had been deputed to offer assistance to catch the elephant.

On June 19, it was tranquillised transported by truck to the Varagaliyar Elephant camp at the Annamalai Tiger Reserve.

While the PFCI sent its petition to the Chief Minister and the Forest Department in June after the death of the elephant, the Forest Department in October denied the allegation of negligence and cruelty. It claimed that that the elephant was looked after well after it was captured.

The animal had suffered multiple fractures on the forehead when it tried to free itself from a kraal by banging the wooden enclosure repeatedly.

“The animal died due to its restless behaviour. There is no unlawful act committed by any of the forest and veterinary officers involved,” the statement read.

Mr. Arun questioned the need to transport the elephant to a place immediately after it was captured.

“While we are not against capturing and relocating an animal, there needs to be a system in place. We will take up the issue to ensure that long-term guidelines are put in place as to how to handle animals in such situations,” he said.