ANGUL: A tusker, feared in the bordering areas of Dhenkanal and Angul for claiming more than a dozen lives, killed five persons in a single night in two villages of Talcher late on Friday.The night of mayhem, however, cost the jumbo dear as the Forest Department tranquilised the animal and de-tusked it in its bid to curb its aggression. It is now under observation.
The elephant, which had eluded the Forest officials for years together, crossed Brahmani river on Thursday night and came over to Talcher from Dhenkanal. When it reached Shendhagaon village, the villagers were sleeping outside their houses due to summer heat. The pachyderm mauled and crushed four persons in the village.
Three of the victims, identified as Kalia Singh (25), Anisha Singh (2) and Sarati Singh (16), belonged to one family. The parents were migrant labourers who were staying on the outskirts of the village. The fourth victim was 35-year-old Sunita Setha. After the first round of misadventure, the tusker moved to neighbouring Santhpara and trampled 60-year-old Bhramar Samal. On being informed, Talcher IIC Saubhagya Kumar Swain rushed to the spot.
Range Officer of Talcher Trilochan Behera said after creating havoc in the villages, the tusker had gone to nearby ash pond of Talcher Thermal Power Station. Compensation would be paid to the victims as per the rules, he said.
The lone tusker, according to Angul DFO V Kartik, then was traced near Kholua on the banks of Brahmani river and tranquilised at around 8.30 pm. Later, forest officials accompanied by Prof Indramani Nath of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology and a team from Nandankanan Zoological Park in Bhubaneswar removed both the tusks of the elephant.
Kartik claimed that the elephant was de-tusked as it would ensure behavioural changes and prevent it from resorting to violent actions. However, the forest team would keep a watch on the elephant’s behaviour after it comes to sense, he added.
The de-tusking has brought huge relief to the villagers since the elephant has been roaming the entire landscape of Mahavir range on its own. In fact, Dhenkanal district is the epicentre of man-elephant conflict because of the location of industries, river Brahmani and national highways cutting off the habitats and corridors of the long-ranging animals.
Another elephant, belonging in the forests of Chhendipada, is also feared for killing over 30 persons over the years. The Forest Department attempts to capture and de-tusk it has not materialised.
The tusker had killed over a dozen human lives in bordering areas of Dhenkanal and Angul
On Thursday night, it killed five people
The elusive jumbo for years spotted on the banks of Brhmani river
An expert team tranquilises it and cuts off tusks
The move aims at its behavioural change, claims DFO