In spite of the Indian government taking up the issue of attack on elephants from across the India-Nepal border, two elephants have been spotted with bullet injuries in the Kurseong forest division of Darjeeling district in West Bengal, forest officials said on Saturday. The hilly district shares a long boundary with Nepal.
While a male tusker with a bullet injury was tranquillised and administered antibiotics early in the morning, an injured female elephant remained at large in the Kolabari forest.
Forest officials said the animal had been shot in its right forefoot and was being kept under care since it had lost a lot of blood.
“We are taking the help of two ‘kumki’ elephants [elephants trained by the forest department] to trace the female elephant, so that the animal can be tranquillised and treated,” Shailesh Anand, divisional forest officer of Kurseong forest division, told The Hindu on the phone.
Mr. Anand said that both the animals were part of a herd of pachyderms that crossed into Nepal earlier this year.
He added that there was a possibility of more such injured elephants in the forest.
‘Natural migratory habit’
He said that it was a “natural migratory habit of animals to cross into Nepal” in May and return in August.
Mr. Anand said that since 1999, there had been reports of at least 12 elephants being killed due to bullet injuries sustained after they strayed into Nepal.
The State’s Chief Wildlife Warden, S.B. Mondal, said that incidents, where a herd of elephants crossing into Nepal were being shot at, were happening every year.
“The State government has raised the issue with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, and they have requested the Ministry of External Affairs to raise the issue with the government of Nepal,” Mr. Mondal said.
He said that after the issue was raised by the Ministry of External Affairs, the Nepal government promised to look into the matter.
Referring to the continuing attack and death of elephants in such incidents, Mr. Mondal said it seemed that the instructions issued by the Nepal government were not percolating down to the grassroots.