Special Correspondent

In a letter to his counterpart, Orissa Chief Minister chides the State

Expresses concern over death of a tranquilised elephant, which was brought to Lakhari forest

“Andhra Pradesh did not respect laws with regard to protection of the herd”

BHUBANESWAR: Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday urged the Andhra Pradesh Government to cancel ‘Operation Gajendra’ launched to transport back the wild elephants that had strayed into the State from Orissa.

Expressing grave concern over the death of a female elephant that was tranquilised in Andhra Pradesh and brought to Lakhari forest in Gajapati district, Mr. Patnaik said the authorities in the neighbouring district should keep watch on the movement of the remaining elephants till the harvesting period.

The Chief Minister expressed hope that the elephants that had gone out of their habitat in Gajapati in search of food would return during harvest time.

Patnaik termed the procedure of tranquilisation and transportation of the elephants as “sad and unfortunate” and said that it could have been done in a humane way.

In his letter, the Chief Minister pointed out that the elephants were not restricted to any geographical or political boundaries and it was their nature to move from one forest to another.

Observing that it was the duty of the government concerned to protect the elephants, Mr. Patnaik said that the neighbouring State did not respect the laws in this regard while deciding the transport of the elephants.

Two of the nine elephants that had strayed into Andhra Pradesh a few weeks ago had been trapped and given sedatives before they were brought to Gajapati district on Sunday. One of them was found dead on Monday morning. It is believed that the elephant had died due to excessive tranquilisation and exhaustion. Post-mortem was carried out on Tuesday afternoon.