Sleepless Nights For Wildlife Personnel As Limping Tusker’s Hide & Seek Continues (Bhubaneswar/Cuttack, India)


Odisha TV

Date Published

For the wildlife personnel, a distressed pachyderm with a motor tyre
stuck in one of its legs nearly two months back continues to be a
cause of worry.

Last sighted in Athgarh forest area in Cuttack district, the forest
officials have renewed its exercise to disentangle the ‘foreign’
object from the animal’s leg by way of tranquilising technique to
restore its unhindered mobility.

The elephant has strayed into Athgarh forest division since past one
week. It had meandered aimlessly for nearly two months in Chandaka
forest in the close vicinity of Bhubaneswar. The ‘uninvited guest’
continues to give sleepless nights to local forest personnel.

The elephant was last sighted on Thursday night at dense Kharakola
reserve forest. Round-the-clock vigil is on to track the animal so
that elephant could be tranquilised, Divisional Forest Officer,
Athgarh Forest Division, Arun Kumar Swain.

The forest area where the animal was sighted is exceedingly remote and
inaccessible replete with thorny shrubs. Movement on the foot is the
sole way out to reach the spot. The forest staffs have perched
themselves atop trees building a temporary bamboo structure. They are
able to faintly sight the elephant from the treetop. The animal is
still in pain and is showing violent behavioural symptoms. It’s a
risky proposition to march on foot anywhere near the animal to
tranquilise it as it may attack in self-defence. The thick forest
cover is bereft of viable escape routes. The sole option left with the
wildlife staffs is to disperse the animal to nearby Soukhasana forest
which has ample open space. Applying the tranquiliser would be an
easier task once the tusker is driven away to the adjoining forest,
said DFO Swain.

Yesterday, those on night duty burst fire crackers so that the jumbo
leaves Kharakola for neighbouring forest in sheer panic. But it proved
counter-productive. The serene silence of forest was virtually
ruptured as the elephant went berserk trampling down a couple of
standing trees despite reduced physical mobility, the official told
this web portal.

“We are still hopeful. The elephant may leave the jungle soon as it
may instinctively opt for change of place. The neighbouring forest has
fruit-bearing trees with luxuriant branches which may come to the
liking of the injured animal. It will be easier to tame it and remove
the tyre once to adjoining forest. Tranquiliser experts either from
Angul or Bhubanswar could be summoned to the said forest which is
accessible by jeep. It will hardly take hour-an-half for the team to
arrive at the forest.

The forest personnel have in the meanwhile faced the wrath of the
limping elephant. A forest guard has been injured while a jeep
carrying the staffs was attacked by the elephant on March 18. Those in
 the jeep fled in the nick of time to save themselves from elephant’s

It’s a freak incident that lays bare the human interference into
habitation corridors of elephant. The dumping of the worn tyre in the
forest area is indicative of human interference in animals’ habitat,
pointed out Kedar Kumar Swain, Divisional Forest Officer, Chandaka
Forest Division.

People living on the fringes of Chandaka had spotted it two months
back. Since then the drive to remove the tyre by way of tranquilising
method got underway to provide soothing relief to the animal. But the
exercise is yet to yield the desired result as the animal continues to
play hide and seek, said DFO Swain.