Even as the shooting of a rogue elephant in West Bengal's Paschim Medinipur district led to a controversy, Forest Department officials said that a rescue centre for “problem elephants” in the region is being contemplated.
“A rescue centre for rogue elephants has been planned and the Divisional Forest Officer in Bankura has been given the task of identifying land for this purpose,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) S.B. Mondal.
About five days ago, permission for killing a rogue pachyderm near a village in Paschim Medinipur district was obtained as the animal was responsible for the death of several people. The permission was granted as per the rules of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, he said.
“Wrong elephant killed”
However, the shooting resulted in a controversy as villagers claim that a wrong elephant was killed.
“Identification marks of the rogue elephant had been taken at the time of granting permission and the matter will be investigated,” said Atanu Raha, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests.
Man-animal conflict is a perpetual problem in the region as it is a part of an elephant corridor and witnesses the arrival of herds in August and their departure in February. About 25 tuskers are reported to be present in the region, Mr. Mondal said.
The increase in the population of tuskers is a recent phenomenon. Earlier, there were no elephants permanently settled in the forest areas of Bankura and Paschim Medinipur. It is these elephants that create man-animal conflict, he added.
The rescue centre, with facilities to accommodate up to 10 elephants, will help prevent people being killed during elephant attacks. It is a matter of serious concern as an average of 60 people are killed every year in such attacks all over West Bengal, he added.