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The High Court of Chhattisgarh has ordered Forest Department to present a report on prospects of releasing Sonu, wild elephant under captivation since December 1, 2015, in the forest. The Court has directed forest authorities to present a report in this regard within three weeks by getting the elephant examined by veterinary Dr Rajeev TS from Kerala. Capturing order of Sonu was issued by erstwhile Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Wildlife BN Dwivedi on October 20, 2015, after he allegedly killed a human, but in an affidavit Forest Department filed in the Court, it was informed to the Judiciary that he had killed four persons later on.
Yet, the department hardly showed any evidence substantiating the allegations of four more killings by elephant.
A senior forest official, who was closely associated to entire operation of capturing Sonu, had told The Hitavada that no one can confidently say that it was Sonu, which killed the men or it was the other members of his herds. But, on the basis observation that after the separation of Sonu, his herd wasn’t seen involved in any act of rampage or attack on humans or their properties helped them drawing the conclusion that it was Sonu, which led to attack and death of humans.
Hearing the public interest litigation filed by environmentalist Nitin Singhvi, High Court made concerning remarks that keeping the wild animals in captivity diminishes animal’s survivability competence in jungles and its coming generation will be relying forever on humans.
Sonu was captured and shackled following a hectic operation running for several months. Department had also used a female elephant as honey trap in the operation. This female elephant later died of internal injuries inflicted on her by Sonu.
Sonu was kept in shackles for months at the same spot and developed deep festering wounds in lower ends of his limbs owing to friction with iron shackles. When environmentalist Singhvi came to know about the ordeal of Sonu, he pleaded the Court to get treatment. As a result, on the order of High Court, a 2-member team led by Dr Rajeev TS had examined the jumbo and began treatment. Thereafter, Dr Rajeev had once again recommended for the releasing Sonu in wild on June 2, 2016.