Forest Minister assures steps to prevent jumbo deaths

38-year-old Dasara elephant Ashwathama died at its camp in Nagarahole tiger reserve a few days ago triggering concerns among the wildlife enthusiasts

Published - June 15, 2024 07:14 pm IST - MYSURU

Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre on Saturday said the State government has taken the death of Dasara elephant Ashwathama at its camp in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve very seriously and assured that all necessary measures will be taken to prevent jumbo deaths in future.

He was responding to the tragic death of the 38-year-old Ashwathama due to suspected electrocution at Bheemanakatte elephant camp in Ane Chowkur range in the tiger reserve.

The repeated deaths of elephants, including Dasara elephants, either due to electrocution or other unnatural reasons has become a cause for concern among the wildlife enthusiasts and animal lovers. The recent one was Ashwathama, who had participated twice in Mysuru Dasara in the jumbo squad, and was also identified as a possible successor for the howdah elephant because of its height and other reasons.

The High Court of Karnataka has taken suo motu cognisance of the jumbo’s death in Nagarahole.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Mysuru zoo, Mr. Khandre said the jumbo death has been taken seriously and appropriate measures will be taken so that such incidents are not repeated.

Memorial for tusker Arjuna

The Minister said the memorial for former howdah elephant Arjuna, which died in Hassan district after a fight with a wild elephant, will be established at Sakleshpur where the jumbo was buried and also at Balle which was the 64-year-old tusker’s camp.

The memorial plans are almost ready and the foundation stone for it will be laid in the next 15 days, Mr. Khandre said, while replying to reporters’ queries on the delay in building a memorial for the majestic elephant that successfully carried the golden howdah during Dasara festivities in Mysuru.

Arjuna died in the fight with a wild jumbo during the elephant capture operation near Yeslur in Sakleshpur. Arjuna suffered serious injuries in the attack.

To a question on whether the government will drop actor Darshan, who is an accused in Renukaswamy murder case, as ambassador of the Forest Department, the Minister said he is not the ambassador for the State Forest Department.

Andhra plea for jumbos

Responding to questions on Andhra Pradesh’s request to the State for sparing trained camp elephants, he said no decision has been taken on giving trained elephants to Andhra Pradesh. The matter has to be discussed with the forest officials.

However, he clarified that the elephants recognised as Dasara elephants and used in the combing operations, will not be given to anybody. “There is no need to get anxious,” he said, on the opposition from the activists for giving the jumbos to the Andhra Pradesh citing risks.

On the development plans for Mysuru zoo, Mr. Khandre said the zoo would be developed to get recognised internationally. The tourists’ will get more facilities with the zoo management launching various initiatives for their benefits.

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