Forest dept gets nod to capture tusker in Radhanagari (India)


Nikhil Deshmukh, Times of India

Date Published
KOLHAPUR: The wild elephant that had killed one person in Radhanagari forest last month will be chained finally, as the state forest department has received permission from the Union government to do so.
Rajan Desai, range forest officer at Ajara, said, “We have received permission from the Union ministry of environment and forest to capture the wild tusker. Earlier, we had submitted a report comprising status of the animal and various resolutions passed by the villages of Radhanagari and Ajara to the ministry.”
In February, the forest department had undertaken a similar drive and captured three elephants near Kankavali tehsil in Sindhudurg district. The elephants had run berserk by destructing the crops and posing a major threat to the locals. A team of around 70 skilled people was deployed to catch the animals, which are being tamed.
Desai said, “The tusker that had created havoc in Radhanagari tehsil has now returned to the forest of Ajara and Bhudargad. It is likely to stay there as the climatic conditions in these tehsils are more suitable for the animal. We have decided to capture it at the earliest.”
Earlier, the authorities concerned took measures such as using firecrackers and chilly smoke and fencing the farms to keep the tusker at bay, but in vain. In some cases, shouting by the people irked the animal to such an extent that it caused more damage to the crops and houses, said Radhanagari MLA Prakash Abitkar.
At present, the elephants captured in Sindhudurg are kept inside a kraal, a wooden enclosure to train and bring them under control.
Abhijeet Tayshete, a member of zilla parishad from Radhanagari tehsil, said, “The only objection the local people are raising is the frequent losses of crops caused by the elephants. Through the forest department, the state government provides monetary compensation to the farmers, but it is not adequate and should not become a habit. The farmers do not cultivate crops for the elephants. The forest department should be active enough to ensure that the wild tuskers get enough food and water inside the jungle so that such attacks are stopped. At present, the animal has taken a life and hence, should not be set free. The people are scared and angry.”
Desai said it is not yet clear when exactly will the forest department execute the task, as the team first needs to come here and see the territory. “We also need to track the animal and its location so that we can identify a place for building a kraal to keep it there,” he added.