Forest department rejects misfire claim, says Dasara elephant Arjuna stepped on sharp piece of wood

The issue should be probed and action accordingly taken against the officials who took part in the operation, they demanded.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustration)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustration)

HASSAN:  The death of famed Dasara elephant Arjuna in a tussle with a large tusker in a rut during a special operation, gave rise to a host of speculations, including that he was a victim of a misfired bullet from a forester. People from across the board contributed to different theories. However, the forest department refuted these theories Speaking to TNIE, Deputy Conservator of Forests Mohan Kumar, who was supervising the elephant operation to fix radio collars on rogue elephants, said that Arjuna was suffering from severe pain, owing to a major injury on his right foot. 

The elephant was injured after stepping on a sharp piece of wood while fighting with a rogue elephant. He fought fiercely, despite continuously bleeding. 

Brushing aside the theory of misfire during the operation, he said that a forest official stood far away from the operation area and fired in the air to scare the rogue elephant away when it instead intensified its charge at Arjuna. 

The forest staff only carry a double-barrel gun for self-defense during such operations. The doctors didn’t find any bullet injuries on any parts of the pachyderm’s body during the postmortem, he added. 

Action sought

Animal lovers had alleged that Arjuna was injured due to a misfire after a video surfaced in which Vinu -- his handler -- reportedly stated that the elephant was injured in this manner during his confrontation with the rogue elephant. 

The issue should be probed and action was accordingly taken against the officials who took part in the operation, they demanded.

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