Killing of the elephant, declared as the state animal, has sparked objections with a wildlife board member claiming that tuskers are protected under schedule-1 of wildlife protection Act.
The ‘rogue’ elephant that had killed 15 people — 11 in Jharkhand and 4 in Bihar — was shot dead on Friday, said principal chief conservator of forest (Wildlife) LR Singh.
A day before the World Elephant Day, hunter Nawab Safath Ali Khan, who had been called from Hyderabad, fired two bullets on the head the animal from a distance of just 10 meters. The elephant died with minutes.
Forest officials said Khan and veterinarian Dr Ajay Kumar had tracked the elephant near Banjali village in Jharkhand’s Sahebganj district.
Dr Kumar had tried to tranquillize the elephant from a distance of 30 meters. But, the pachyderm suddenly ran to charge them. The officials said before the elephant could reach them, Khan shot two bullets on its head, and it fell on the ground.
The wildlife wing of the Jharkhand forest department had on Thursday evening issued a shoot-at-sight order after finding no alternative to protect the elephant.
“The teams were finding it difficult to locate the elephant as visibility was negligible in the forest due to thick vegetation and the hilly terrain was not easily negotiable by vehicles. So, chances of capturing it was very meagre in such a situation,” Singh said.
DS Srivastava, a state wildlife board member, raised objection to the killing of the elephant. “Tuskers are protected under schedule-1 of wildlife protection Act. It is irony that an elephant was killed in a state where it is declared as state animal,” he said.
“The elephant was on the rampage for the last four months. But, state forest department could not chalk out any concrete plan to control it. The elephant could be protected by driving it to a small forest area and digging trenches around it,” said Srivastava, a former steering committee member of Project Elephant.
PCCF (wildlife), however, rejected Srivastava’s proposal. “Digging trenches was not possible in hilly and rocky area. Also, it was a time-taking process. Trenching could have been thought of if the elephant didn’t change its location frequently,” Singh said.