|The tusker (left) brought from Bankura being brought to the enclosure on
Thursday. Picture by Anirban Choudhury
TT, Alipurduar, July 7: A wild tusker that had terrorised a village in Bankura was kept inside an enclosure in the Buxa forest after three hours of efforts of three pet elephants and mahouts this morning.
The Elephant Rehabilitation Centre in Buxa, spread across four hectares with an energised fence and a trench, is the first of its kind in the state to enclose marauding wild jumbos.
Forest officers said the Rs 20 lakh enclosure had been created in the Buxa Tiger Reserve in seven days after the chief minister had expressed annoyance over frequent attacks by wild elephants on human habitats.
In a village under Beliatore range of Bankura forest division, three wild elephants had been damaging crops and huts, and killing people.
One of the three elephants, a male, that had killed five persons in a couple of months and injured foresters was shot dead.
Of the other two elephants, a 15-year-old tusker was tranquillised and brought to the rehabilitation centre last night.
The foresters are yet to sedate the third elephant that was creating havoc in the area.
“The tusker which was enclosed in Buxa had started off from Bankura in a truck on Tuesday night. During the journey, the elephant was given time to rest in Raiganj and Bagdogra. Last night, it reached the rehabilitation centre,” said a forest officer.
About 4.30am today, a team of foresters led by Ujwal Ghosh, the field director of Buxa, began the operation to bring down the tusker from the truck and enclose it.
The tusker was tied to three kunkis (pet elephants) and brought down from the truck.
“As it was a wild tusker, the animal didn’t heed the orders of the kunkis‘ mahouts. The tusker had to be given sedation to make it calm. It took three hours for us to take the tusker inside the enclosure. We gave the animal vitamin injection, food and water,” said Ghosh.
He said the enclosure had a three-tier periphery.
“There is an energised fence around the enclosure and then, a trench has been dug. Another 6ft high fence with iron bars will be built outside the drench to stop elephants from escaping from the enclosure. This is the first wild elephant captured and released in the new rehabilitation centre. Four watch towers have been set up on high trees at all corners of the enclosure for close vigil round the clock,” said Ghosh.
According to the officer, vegetation is maintained in the enclosure.
“In future, we will extend the area of the centre when more elephants are brought here. Another such centre is coming up at Jhargram. The three-tier protection layer has been made so that the wild elephants of Buxa do not enter the enclosure,” he added.