Elephant goes missing in Dehradun, poaching feared | dehradun | Hindustan Times
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Elephant goes missing in Dehradun, poaching feared

Forest officials said the missing tusker is separated from its herd, but sources in the department said that chances are the animal has been killed by locals.

dehradun Updated: Oct 08, 2017 20:49 IST
Prithviraj SIngh
The missing tusker was part of a three-member group of elephants that has been regularly venturing into the villages for nearly 15-20 days.
The missing tusker was part of a three-member group of elephants that has been regularly venturing into the villages for nearly 15-20 days.(HT FILE/REPRESENTATIONAL PHOTO)

An elephant, which had been frequently entering villages near Dehradun for more than a fortnight causing panic among the villagers, has suddenly gone missing giving rise to the suspicion that the animal has been poached.

The missing tusker was part of a three-member group of elephants that has been regularly venturing into the villages for nearly 15-20 days.

Forest officials said the missing tusker is separated from its herd, but sources in the department said that chances are the animal has been killed by locals.

According to sources in the Dehradun forest division, the missing male elephant belongs to the group of elephants that had caused panic among residents of Maldevta, Kaluwala, Balawala, Nakronda and Sittowala villages for nearly 20 days. The elephant, about 45-50 years of age, has not been seen with its group for almost 15 days. The elephant could not be traced despite regular attempts by a team of local foresters. In fact, the department deployed drones to find out the elephant, but in vain.

“The pachyderm is not missing, but was separated from two other members of its group that was last spotted at Maldevta area two days back. That separation is also temporary, for this elephant parted his ways from the group in the past as well. The elephant was non traceable even by drone mainly for its black colour, which is often non distinguishable from the darkness inside dense forest covers,” said Prakash Patra, DFO, Dehradun.

Patra agreed that frequent movement of the elephant group close to human settlements in fringe villages of Dehradun has become a cause of concern for the department. He, however, refused to accept that missing tusker was killed by locals and said “present concern is to prevent the three pachyderms to harm people living in nearby areas”.

Patra said that frequent movement of the elephant group in the villages has forced the department to explore the possibility of their tranquilisation and translocation into deep forest area. “Option is being explored if this can be done, as there is risk involved in this process and everything has to be done smoothly,” said the DFO.

According to the department sources, apart from the missing adult, other two elephants of the group include a cub aged 7-8 years and a sub-adult aged around 15-18 years.