3 jumbos fall into Patanjali pit - Two elephant calves found electrocuted in Dibrugarh

Three wild elephants were injured at the construction site of the Patanjali Mega Herbal and food park in Sonitpur district, while two elephant calves have died of electrocution in Dibrugarh district in the past five days. The three wild elephants had fallen into a trench at the construction site at AIDC Complex, Ghoramari, in Sonitpur district. According to forest department sources, the incident occurred after 6am when a calf ran out of herd towards the construction site, followed by its mother. The male elephant managed to come out of the trench while the female one was critically injured.

The foundation stone of the Rs 1,300-crore food park was laid on November 6 by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal. Yoga guru Ramdev and other senior officials of Patanjali Ayurved were present."This is a place where elephants come from nearby areas to take rest," a source in the forest department said. Sources said the female calf was rescued and translocated to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation, Kaziranga National Park. Diganta Borborah, the divisional forest officer, Sonitpur (west) division told The Telegraphthat doctors from Kaziranga were treating the mother elephant. One of its rear legs might be fractured, the doctors suspected.
 

"The forest department made arrangements for continuing treatment at night by installing floodlights and other infrastructure," he said. The assistant conservator of forests, West Sonitpur, Jasim Ahmed, who is monitoring the treatment, said the elephants had strayed from the corridor nearby. Uday Goswami, the coordinator of the Patanjali park, said, "Our people, along with the forest department personnel, guard the site regularly."

He added that the herd had not been seen for the last couple of days but appeared near the site in the morning. He said generally the herd left the area within 3am but arrived late today. The co-ordinator added that their organisation had provided all logistic support to shift the female elephant. In Dibrugarh, two calves had died at Lezai Kalakhowa under Khowang forest range in a span of five days, as a result of the escalation in man-elephant conflict. Local residents found a dead elephant calf in a paddy field at Panigaon, about 22km from here today. It is suspected that the calf came in touch with a live electric wire.

On November 19, another elephant calf had died of electrocution at Bordoibam village in the same area. Sources said some cultivators in the area has resorted to laying live electric wires in their fields by tapping power directly from nearby high tension wires to protect their crops. Since the past few days, a herd of around 30 wild elephants from the nearby Dehingmukh reserve forest had been rampaging paddy fields and granaries in the area. The elephant herd had come out from the nearby Dehing Medela reserve forest in search of food.

"An FIR was lodged and we are investigating how the elephant calves came into contact with the electric wires," said a forest official. The calf was later buried. "The elephant herd was destroying our paddy fields. The forest officials refused to come to our rescue," a villager alleged. The wild herd usually comes out in the evening and returns to the forest by morning during the harvesting season. With no help coming from the forest department, the villagers have been resorting to traditional methods like bursting of crackers and beating drums to drive them away.

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