Wildlife wardens order shooting of rouge tusker in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun : Man-animal conflict in the country is growing and tragically it is the animals, who can neither put their point of view nor form voting banks, who are at the receiving end.

The tusker, which has made the forests in the Rsihikesh area of this district in Uttarakhand has been eventually declared a rogue and the chief wildlife warden has given directions that it be shot.

The tusker first came to light when it killed Nand Chamoli in the region on July 9. There after it has been responsible for killing four others, Bahadur on July 13, Abbal Singh Rawat on Oct 3, Bhagwati Prasad on Oct 6 and its latest victim being Om Prakash Rana driver of MLA from Narendranagar on Nov 8. The last victim happened to be his undoing.

Enraged that his driver had been killed the legislators took to the roads with hundreds of people from his region and blocked the Badrinath and Gangotri highway on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people put the body of Om Prakash Rana at the Bhadrakali Tiraha and blocked the road, forcing the traffic to go haywire and the forest department, convene an emergency meeting on the issue.

Deliberations on what should be done on the tusker lasted for six hours and with growing pressure of the legislator, hundreds of his followers and thousands of commuters stranded on the road of the blockade, the decision went against the tusker.

With the forest authorities conveying the message that they could not move the elephant to another forest even by tranquilising the animal, it was decided to shoot the tusker, as he was rogue.

It was made clear that rules as laid down in the Forest Wildlife Act 1972 and the amended section 11 of 2006 would be implemented in letter and spirit while killing the tusker.

It states that only an expert shikari registered with the forest department can kill the animal with a 375 bore rifle after shooting it on the forehead or the heart. More importantly the animal will have to be identified that it is the rogue tusker before it is killed.

Though wildlife lovers in the region intended taking up cudgels for the tusker by pleading that it be tranquilised and shifted to another forest block in the trans-Ganga area, as had been done in 2004, when a similar rouge elephant was tranquilised and moved to the Rajaji Park from Hardwar.

Incidentally, the Dhalipur area was a thick forest once and was the abode of wild elephants in the past, but gradually as the forests were cut in the name of developmental projects, human settlements started coming over.

As such it is normal for elephants to move in the area, because they have been doing it for years but their presence now is irking the residents.

Informed sources in the forest department conceded that the 50-year-old tusker pronounced a rogue did not turn so over night.

Over the years, men have thrown boiling water at him, hit him with bricks and stones and raised a hue and cry whenever he has come near human habitation.

This is why the tusker gets infuriated on getting the smell of human being and attacks a man when he sees one, killing them.

But then who will listen to his side of the story and the one-sided verdict has already been delivered and signed.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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10 Comments

  1. says: singh

    lets save our elephant .he is an animal but we are humans . We can understand his issues but being an animal is not able to understand ours. Lets shift him to another forest range .thats a win win for all.

  2. says: Suneet

    Complete mockery. I cant understand who has given us the right to make roads in the heart of the jungles for our conveniences and when the conflict happens, we assume the animal is in the wrong.

    Also what I find funny is the way hillpost has coolly used african elephants photos while publishing an article on asian elephants oh the country.

  3. says: Lt Gen Dr Mohan Bhandari

    The easiest thing for the Chief Wildlife Warden of Uttarakhand is to say ‘ SHOOT THE ROGUE ELEPHANT’.His department should focus to conserve wildlife in Uttarakhand instead of holding seminars /workshops.This ends up in fudging animal statistics & scratching own backs.All sorts of resorts have mushroomed near the wild life sanctuaries,hill tops,jungles & spots providing natural scenery.The area for wild animals to freely maneuver has been shrinking over the years owing to callous attitude of state policies & indifference to conserve fauna & fauna of Uttarakhand.You just cannot bump off a tusker like this!Forest Wildlife Act lays down that a Magnum ( pressure of 3000 Lg/Sq Inch)or 450/400 is a must -herein referred to as .375,but, identification factor is MOST IMPORTANT.Having seen the most unprofessional approach of Forest Deptt over the years,the whole shoot out operation may end up in killing a wrong tusker/tuskers!.Why cannot you shoot with a tranquilizing dart & remove the defaulter to another territory?The Chief Wildlife Warden should seek help from other sanctuaries that are home to wild elephants ( Like Madhumalai)& save the elephant.Shooting is the easiest thing to do.Uttarakhand Forest department does not even possess an actionable breeding policy.I wonder if they have even a dedicated veterinary cover!Please be professional & adopt scientific methods to change habitats of animals as & when required.Generate the wherewithal to do so & save the wild life.Do not adopt the easiest & most barbarous option !

  4. says: Save_animals_dey cant speak for themselves

    Its shameful to say dat humans is the supreme creation of God…its becoz of us dat animals are now deprived of their homes..y cant we just leave jungles alone??? Y housing colonies are being set by clearing jungle areas…y these politicians allow such kind of nonsense..these housing colonies owners bribe these *&@$** politicians…n its d poor animal who has to suffer..

  5. says: jagadishmro

    fist of all we humans should go with nature.we are encroaching there forests and making them homeless.if something happens to a human we protest it but this animals cant protest.we being humans should protest them.and lead our life with nature

  6. says: Malay

    It’s very tragic. I really feel shame of being human.It’s true that the poor creature was bound to retaliate and circumstances made him rogu.. on the other hand we find ourselve hapless to punish
    several cool minded murderes such as kasab,afzal..how can we pass verdict to kill an animal who even can not have voice to protest…shame.

  7. says: Janaki Devi

    If we can destroy there habitation, why are we getting upset when the animal turns back at us. Tranquilise the animal and move to another forest. Dont kill the animal. We human beings are repaying for what we have done.

  8. says: deepti

    This is similar to a recent movie CHillar party.Whatever is happening in society is exactly shown in the movie.If it was not an MLA’s driver then the Elephant couldn’t be a rouge.They are only giving in to the EGO of the corrupted politician but not to the LIFE of a DUMB animal.May the people responsible for the punishment will get the same thing in return.Hope the Tusker will be shifted to other sanctury.

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