Tame? Not this jumbo: Forest officials move tusker from Buxa to Gorumara for training (India)


Anirban Choudhury, Calcutta Telegraph

Date Published


See link for photo of elephant.

A wild elephant from Bankura has refused the taming tactics of mahouts in north Bengal so far. So, like errant students in school are treated, the elephant has been sent to a different school – from the Buxa Tiger Reserve to the Gorumara National Park.

The idea was to turn a wild elephant into a kunki, or a guide elephant. The sub-adult male from Bankura has resolutely refused to learn any lesson. At one point, while carrying a mahout, he picked up bricks using his trunk and flung them in various directions.

Experts in north Bengal said there was also a crisis of mahouts in Buxa, which made training an already stubborn elephant difficult.

In Bankura, too, the elephant had raised panic.

This elephant was among the three that had repeatedly attacked a village in Beliatore subdivison in Bankura, damaging crops and huts and killing people. It was brought to Buxa on July 7.

As it is a wild tusker, the animal didn’t heed the orders of the kunkis’ mahouts. The tusker had to be sedated to be calm when it was brought to Buxa elephant rescue centre.

The Buxa rescue centre is the first in the state. Some wildlife experts said the tusker should not have been taken to Buxa when facilities at the rescue centre there were poor.

When forest officials were asked why the tusker was not sent to Gorumara, they refused to speak.

According to a forest department source, on the first day foresters faced lot of problems while taking the elephant inside the centre from the truck.

Three mahouts were brought from Jaldapara National Park but they failed to tame it.

Sometimes when the mahouts went close to the tusker, it threw stones at the trainers.

For the past one month, the mahouts stayed in Buxa Tiger Reserve just to tame the tusker. The mahouts later said they needed much bigger elephant to tame the Bankura jumbo.

Kunkis, or trained elephants, are engaged for patrolling forests, controlling rogue elephants and also for tourist rides. The Bankura elephant’s feet were chained and they got infected. He was treated for it.

Yesterday, it was decided that the elephant would be shifted to the Dhupjhora elephant camp in Gorumara National Park. This morning, preparations started in Buxa to send away the animal and at noon the elephant was on its way. It reached Gorumara at 3.30pm.

Animesh Bose, an animal rights activist, said: “It is unfortunate that forest officials did not consult any elephant expert prior to bringing the animal to BTR. It may have faced problems because of the monsoon.”

Pradeep Vyas, the chief wildlife warden, said over phone: “We brought the elephant to the BTR rescue centre to tame it but there is lot of work to be done there, like building fences using iron pillars. The elephant has to be kept with jumbos of similar behaviour in Gorumara. There are also expert mahouts and a number of kunkis in Gorumara and that is why we sent it there.”