Foresters withdraw four elephants from T1 tigress search operation

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Oct 2018 12:53:05


Special Correspondent,

The operation to tranquilise the menacing T1 tigress in Pandharkawda Forest Division has received a set back with withdrawal of four elephants and returning back by two veterinarians from Madhya Pradesh (MP).

The step to shift the four elephants brought from MP was taken after ‘Gajraj’, an elephant from Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve killed a woman, seriously injured an elderly person, damaging huts, toilets, boards and crop in Ralegaon tehsil. It went berserk and walked a long distance on Nagpur-Hyderabad Highway on Wednesday. Later, forestmen captured ‘Gajraj’ and sent back it to Tadoba.

Following this incident, the remaining four elephants from MP have been shifted from the base camp to Forest Department’s office/depot at Umri, 8 km away from Pandharkawda. The elephants are temporarily out of the operation, said Sunil Limaye, Addl Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife), who is camping at Pandharkawda till the job is over as per instructions given by Sudhir Mungantiwar, Forest Minister.

However, the search operation is going on by jawans of Special Tiger Protection Force, foresters, forest labourers on foot to collect indirect evidences while veterinary doctors and police sharp shooters are moving in vehicles on the basis of data collection on pug-marks, scat, pictures in camera traps etc. The forestmen are also alerting villagers in the area of indirect evidences to take due care and avoid going to jungle, Limaye pointed out.

Meanwhile, even after passing of 24 days, the searching teams have not been able to have direct sighting of the problem tigress that is moving with her two cubs. Engaging services of elephants in the operation failed to get desired results because the ‘intelligent’ tigress is giving a slip to around 200 persons involved in the operation.

When contacted, Pravin Kokate, Chairman of Ralegaon Panchayat Samiti, said on Friday that expressed displeasure over the ‘inactivity’ by Ralegaon MLA Dr Ashok Uikey. He charged that Dr Uikey as well higher forest officers never organised meetings or visited the victims in their villages and consoled the bereaved family members.

Dr Uikey visited the victims only when he has to hand-over cheque for the compensation amount. He found out some solutions if he addressed meetings of villages. The workers met him in deputations but this leader used to say he would see/do and nothing more, Kokate added.