BHUBANESWAR/ANGUL: A trained elephant of Chandaka forest trampled a villager to death in a forest near Purunakote range office under Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district on Thursday.
The trained elephant, Jasoda, was brought from Chandaka near Bhubaneswar to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Angul district to help in tracking and tranquillising tigress Sundari which had allegedly killed two persons. After Sundari was tranquillised on Tuesday, Jasoda was lodged on the premises of Purunakote range office. On Thursday morning, Jasoda’s mahout took her to nearby jungle for feeding bamboo leaves. Leaving her there, the mahout cautioned the people not to go near her.
Around noon, 39-year-old Sudhir Pradhan of Matia Sahi got a banana plant and went close to Jasoda to give it. Agitated by Pradhan, Jasoda crushed him on the ground killing him on the spot.
Confirming the mishap, Satkosia DFO Ramasamy said it was an unfortunate incident. He said the man was killed as he went near the elephant to feed the banana plant. A sum of ` four lakh has been sanctioned to his family besides `40,000 for funeral expenses.
Soon after the mishap, the elephant was brought by the mahout to the range office but the mahout is reportedly absconding fearing attack by the local people.
Jasoda had covered about 100 kms in three to four days in the forest while the Forest Department was making its attempt to trace and tranquilise the tigress. Chances are that it may have been tired and annoyed.
In 2015, Jasoda had attacked mahout of another elephant at Nandankanan Zoological Park near Bhubaneswar. The trained female elephant had chased the mahout before lifting him on her trunk and throwing him on the ground. The man had sustained serious injuries.
Meanwhile, Sundari is in good health in the enclosure at Raigoda which is spread over five sq km. She was not given any prey since she came here on Tuesday as she had consumed a buffalo at Majhipara jungle on Monday night.