Patna: A rogue elephant, which trampled as many as 15 people to death since March, was shot dead on Friday night barely hours before the world celebrated ‘World Elephant Day’.
Authorities said the tusker had unleashed a reign of terror in the twin states of Bihar and Jharkhand over the last few months, leaving many literally sleepless at night.
Reports said a 12-member elephant-chasing squad had been deployed to hunt down the jumbo and their search extended from the forests of West Bengal to Jharkhand.
Eventually, the elephant was sighted near Banjali village in Sahebganj district of Jharkhand on Friday.
Initially, the team tried to tranquillise the elephant but it instead, it began chasing them, leaving them with no option but to shoot it dead. The wildlife wing of the Jharkhand forest department had on Thursday issued a kill order for the elephant.
“The teams were finding it difficult to locate the elephant as visibility was thin in the forest and the hilly terrains were not easily negotiable by vehicle. So the chances of capturing it were remote. Ultimately, we decided to shoot it down,” chief wildlife conservator Lal Ratnakar Singh told the media today.
The animal was shot dead by a prominent hunter from Hyderabad, Nawab Safath Ali Khan. Khan has killed hundreds of rogue blue bulls in Nalanda and Mokama areas under the Patna district of Bihar.
Some wildlife experts, however, have objected to the killing of the elephant, describing the jumbos as protected animals.
“The animal could have been saved by driving it to a small forest areas and digging trenches to capture it but the forest department did not chalk out appropriate plan to control it,” a state wildlife board member D.S. Srivastava told a local media on Saturday.
According to a report, close to 1,000 people have been killed by elephants since Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in November 2000.
Last year alone, elephants killed 66 people, according to reports. More than 170 elephants have been killed by villagers in the course of human-wildlife conflicts.