Jumbo succumbs to three-month old injury in absence of ‘treatment’ at Ranchi forest
The tusker had sustained the injury in its front left leg after it had trampled to death a youth in Ranchi district’s Bundu block in May.Updated: Aug 13, 2020 14:19 IST
An adult wild elephant has succumbed to a three-month-old injury in its left leg, which had caused sepsis, in a forest near Ranchi, Jharkhand forest officials said on Thursday, amid allegations by villagers that the negligence by the authorities caused its death.
The tusker had sustained the injury in its front left leg after it had trampled to death a youth in Ranchi district’s Bundu block in May, the officials said.
The villagers, who had served food to the pachyderm for a few days after it was found to be struggling with its injury, alleged that the animal was left untreated for the past two months by the state forest department authorities that led to its death.
The animal was found dead in the Hapadag forest in Ranchi’s Angarha block on Tuesday.
The forest officials have denied the villagers’ allegations and claimed that the elephant died during treatment.
Dr. Sushila Bage, a veterinarian, posted at the Angarha block, who conducted the post-mortem examination, said, “The old wound had caused sepsis. Internal injuries were also found in the animal’s body. It appears that the jumbo might have fallen many times due to pain or the injury.”
The animal, which was struggling to walk due to acute pain in its front left leg, had taken shelter in a hillock between two villages, Hesadih and Rigrigram, under Silli block. It used to roam between Silli and Angarha blocks since it got injured three months ago, forest officials said.
RK Singh, range officer, Mahilong, said initially, medicines were being administered to the elephant by lacing drugs in pumpkins and bottle guards.
“However, the elephant had stopped eating these medicine-laced vegetables for about a month ago,” Singh said.
The range officer skirted the question about the lack of treatment to the animal that could have been meted out via tranquilisation. “Such decisions are taken by higher authorities,” he said.
Saba Alam, divisional forest officer (DFO), Ranchi, said, “Initially, we visited the forest two-three times, but could not locate the tusker. Later, as per the suggestion of veterinary doctors, it was administered antibiotics. Soon, we received information that it was cured and had started moving around. We are waiting for the post-mortem examination report to ascertain the exact cause of its death.”
Kalipada Mahto, a resident of Hesadih village, who had first informed about the injured elephant in May to the state forest department, said, “The officials served medicines to the elephant laced with vegetables only for a few days in June. Later, it moved to a nearby forest and was left to fend for itself. The officials always used to give an excuse that it couldn’t locate the jumbo.”
Mahto alleged that the injured elephant could have been saved, had it not for the negligence of the forest officials.
“The animal used to cry out in excruciating pain. It would come near ponds and stay there for hours. Though villagers wanted to give food to the elephant, they were scared to go near it. The tusker had turned violent because of the unbearable pain,” he added.