A female elephant that bolted from a circus last week to elope with a wild tusker has returned after a whirlwind romance.
Sabitri (26) had eloped with a tusker from Jharkhand that broke through the tent of the Olympic Circus at Kumarbazar in Raiganj, around 175 km from Kolkata, in the middle of the night on August 29.
The employees of the circus had almost given up hope of getting her back when they spotted Sabitri on Wednesday evening, some distance away from her mate.
A forest team, which had been closely following the elephants for the past few days, immediately stepped in and raised a din, which drove the tusker further away.
"We spotted her standing alone near a pond in Gangajalghati forest in Bankura. Our employees cordoned her off, blew conch shells and beat drums, scaring her mate away," Bankura divisional forest officer Raju Das told IANS.
Sabitri even responded to her mahout Kalimuddin Sheikh after having given him the cold shoulder for the past few days.
"I knew Sabitri would get tired of her mate and return to us. Not used to living in the jungle, she had become weak in the past few days," Kalimuddin said.
A truck had been kept ready for her and Sabitri did not make any attempt to break free. Perhaps, she was happy to return home to the circus, which has been her home for the past 20 years.
Circus manager Chandranath Banerjee could not hide his excitement at seeing his "prodigal daughter" back.
"She will again ensure a full house over the next few days. She will be a star. I will appeal to the Asansol subdivisional officer to let us stay on in Raigunj for a longer period," he said.
Banerjee said the elephant enclosure would be fenced off and armed guards hired. "We have three more female elephants," he said.
The divisional forest officer said his men would keep a watch out for the tusker. "He might again try to break through the circus fence and make out with Sabitri again," he said.