Pregnant elephant compelled to work for West Bengal's Mandabari Forest Department

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Jalpaiguri (West Bengal), April 20 (ANI): In a shocking incident, a 16-month pregnant elephant is being forced to work by the Mandabari Forest Department in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district here in contravention of existing legal directions forbidding it.

According to law, an elephant cannot be used for work after 15 months of pregnancy.

In 2002, Rangini, the female-elephant, had suffered miscarriage when she was forced to work by the department after 15 months of pregnancy.

Animal protection organizations here are livid and allege that Rangini's life is endangered.

"If it (elephant) continues to be deployed for work, it is likely to suffer a miscarriage again like before. If the Forest Department doesn't provide rest to her, all the organizations and institutions have decided to protest," said Sujit Das, member of the Nature and Adventure Society, a non-government organisation working for wildlife.

According to Rangini's mahout, his repeated pleas to the concerned officials to not use the elephant for work were allegedly ignored.

"I was sent back from here to accompany her to Doctor Madam (female veterinarian) and I informed the DFO (Divisional Forest officer) that my elephant's condition is not good, and I am facing problems to carry grass from such a far off place. But no one is paying attention to my problems," said Sujit Biswakarma, the caretaker of the elephant.

There are 57 captive elephants in the region deployed to carry out vigilance, to carry logs of wood, and perform other jobs in the forest. By Tarak (ANI)

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