A male elephant that was shot near the border with Nepal died of its injuries on Monday.
“The elephant that was shot on its right leg was very old. After it was tranquillised and its wound cleaned, it just did not have the strength to get back on its feet,” Raj K. Mahtolia, Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), North Bengal, told The Hindu over telephone.
He said efforts were made to get the elephant back on its feet using a crane as well with the assistance of kumkis (elephants trained by the Forest Department), but in vain.
Officials of the department received information that some elephants were shot at near Bamandangi village in Nepal’s Jhapa district, two weeks ago.
“For nearly 15 days we searched for the elephants so that we may be able to treat them. Finally on Saturday, we were able to spot the male tusker near Bagdogra,” Mr. Mahtolia said. The animal was between 45 and 50 years old, had lost a lot of blood over the last few weeks and was very weak.
Meanwhile, a second elephant that was shot at in Nepal and rescued by the officials of the Forest Department has recovered and rejoined its herd in the forest.
On Sunday, the foresters were able to locate an 18-year old female elephant in the Kolkabari forest area near Panighata.
“It was a much younger animal and was able to survive the ordeal. We tranquillised it, cleaned its wounds and administered antibiotics. It recovered quickly and was released in the forest area during the day and has now rejoined its herd,” said Mr. Mahtolia.
Incidents of elephants being shot at while trying to enter forest areas in Nepal, which is a part of the elephant corridor, has become a major concern for foresters.