Jumbo on rampage, kills woman in Chahand village

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Oct 2018 10:25:42


Special Correspondent,

The elephant from TATR had been brought to Yavatmal for the T1 tigress tranquilising operation

The problems in way of search operation of the menacing T1 tigress in Ralegaon became more acute with one of the elephants engaged in the operation crushing a young woman dead at Chahand village in Ralegaon tehsil on Wednesday. Unaware of what was in store for them in engaging services of ‘Gajraj’, an untrained elephant from Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR), forest officials are finding themselves in fresh trouble.

The elephant had reached the base camp at Sarati-Loni in Yavatmal district on September 27 to take part in tranquilising operation along with four other jumbos from Madhya Pradesh. The entire operation took a dramatic turn on Wednesday as ‘Gajraj’ broke its iron chain at midnight and went berserk. It damaged huts, toilets, structures and boards at Karanji and Wadhona villages in the early morning hours. The jumbo itself sustained minor injuries as one of its leg got stuck in a small tank in Chahand village, informed reliable sources.

The matter turned worse when the jumbo saw Archana Moreshwar Kulsange (30), who was tying bulls in a shed at Chahand. The enraged tusker attacked her, tossed her in the air and trampled her to death. Archana was mother of two children. Ankush Muneshwar, Sarpanch of Vedshi village, where the T1 tigress had killed Gulab Sadashiv Mokashe on August 8, informed that the elephant then reached Pavna village where it attacked an elderly person, who sustained fractures.

Later, after crossing a distance of around 15 kms in the jungle, ‘Gajraj’ reached Nagpur-Hyderabad Highway creating terror among passersby, vehicle drivers and villagers. It walked a long distance on the highway until forestmen reached at 11 am and controlled/captured it, told Muneshwar.

Meanwhile, the unexpected incident has given a major setback to the 22-day-old tigress tranquilising operation. Forest Department has engaged around 200 persons, including officers, veterinarians, sharp shooters, STPF jawans, field staff members, teams in vehicles, forest labourers as well five elephants, one thermal drone etc for combing operation. In spite of all this, the teams have been abel to even sight the rogue tigress or its two cubs.

Forest labourers moving on foot collect indirect evidence of the tigress such as pug-marks and scat before beginning of the operation. The Department has also installed around 100 camera traps at strategic points to get pictures of the beast. On the basis of inputs, the teams decide the area for searching the animal in the undulating areas.

The problem tiger has killed as many as 13 persons in Pandharkawda Forest Division in Yavatmal district from June 2018 to August 2018. The villagers are still leaving a life with a sense of insecurity. There was already simmering anger among the affected villagers from Borati, Khairgaon, Zotingdhara, Tejni, Sarati, Loni, Vedshi, Vihirgaon, Pimpalshenda, Meera and Jeera after T1 tigress killing the persons. Irked by the latest jumbo incident, people from Chahand, Wadki, Khadki and other nearby villages have blamed the Forest Department for the tragedy.

Praveen Kokate, Chairman of Ralegaon Panchayat Samiit, criticised the Department, holding it responsible for Wednesday’s incident. The villagers said that had the sharp shooter killed the tigress the elephants would have gone back by now and the incident would not have taken place. Kokate urged the department to take measures to provide relief to the worried villagers.Meanwhile, forest officers were tight-lipped about the incident and were reluctant to divulge on the shocking series of events.

Villagers vent ire at CCF
Angry villagers gheraoed P G Rahulkar, Chief Conservator of Forest, Yavatmal, who visited Chahand on Wednesday. They raised slogans and accused Forest Department of being negligent in tackling the issue.
Sarpanch Ankush Muneshwar told Rahulkar that villagers would not tolerate injustice anymore if necessary measures are not taken immediately. “You kill us if the tigress is more important to you,”, Muneshwar said in terse words.
The villagers criticised forest officials for their ‘inactivity’.
Vikrant Zade, Range Forest Officer, Maregaon, had accompanied the CCF while K M Abharna, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Pandharkawda, who is In-charge of the search operation, failed to turn up.

Rogue elephant sent back to Tadoba

The Forest Department had brought ‘Gajraj’ elephant from Moharli in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve on September 27 for taking part in the menacing T1 tigress search operation. The Department had already summoned four trained elephants from Madhya Pradesh. However, officials felt the need for one more elephant and that too an untrained one. The elephant apparently was not trained for such a job. Probably getting desperate on being separated from its family in Moharli, the jumbo went berserk killing a woman, injuring an elderly person and damaging property.
After capturing the elephant at Pipri, forestmen are learnt to have dispatched the animal back to Tadoba in a truck.
Meanwhile, the tranquilising operation got disturbed on Wednesday due to the incident.