Search for missing elephant, DFO announces cash award

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Berhampur, Nov 01 (UNI) An elephant has been reported missing after being released inside the Lakhari Elephant Sanctuary here by the Andhra Pradesh forest officials.

Official sources said here today that a cash reward of Rs 10,000 was announced to any person who could provide details on the missing calf.

Gajapati Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Manas Ranjan Bhatta had already deployed five labourers in the forest to trace the missing calf and announced a cash award of Rs 10,000 for providing any clue about the elephant, the sources added.

The forest department officials searched the entire sanctuary after a rumour that the elephant, brought to the forest from Andhra Pradesh by truck, had died.

A herd of 11 elephants had strayed into Vijayanagaram district of Andhra Pradesh from the Lakhari sanctuary during July.

Later, the Andhra Pradesh forest officials managed to capture two of the elephants and released them in the Lakhari forest.

One of the captured elephants, however, died in the forest on October 29, resulting in widespread resentment among the forest officials in Orissa on the methods adopted by the Andhra Pradesh forest officials in capturing the strayed elephants.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who expressed concern over the incident, urged his counterpart in Andhra Pradesh to implement a proper action plan for the transportation of elephants to avert any further deaths.

Describing the death as unfortunate, the Chief Minister said the law for the inter-state translocation of wild animals must be adhered to and the scope of organising a controlled drive be explored to translocate the elephant herd to a suitably nearby habitat without resorting to capture of individual animals.

Meanwhile, a report reaching here today said the Andhra Pradesh government again captured another two pachyderms from Orissa, who had strayed into their area, but without tranquilizers on October 30.

In the wake of strong protests from the Orissa government, the two elephants were captured by using drums, lights and trained elephants.

As many as 42 trained personnel, led by A K Roy from West Bengal, captured the two pachyderms with the help of a trained elephant from Chittor in Andhra Pradesh.

Sources said the two elephants were kept captive in Semavanami village under Gimma Valasa Mandalm in Andhra Pradesh where two more pachyderms, captured earlier through tranqilisers, were also kept captive.

The Andhra Pradesh government was now contemplating shifting these four captured pachyderms to the Lakhari elephant sanctuary.

A senior forest officer from Andhra Pradesh told UNI over phone that this time, they would not transport the elephants in trucks but allow the pachyderms to move on their own to reach their habitat in Lakhari sanctuary.

UNI

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