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Killer jumbo still on the prowl

CHITWAN, DEC 18 - It is man versus animal, an eternal and wild battle for existence that is going on in Chitwan district for quite some time now. A marauding wild elephant named Dhurbe that killed an elderly couple on Saturday in Gardi is believed to have killed 15 people and destroyed property worth millions in a matter of three years in and around Chitwan National Park (CNP).

The Global Positioning System (GPS) radio collar which is used to track the location of animals has revealed that the tusker was in the same location where the human casualties occurred.

“The GPS radio collar showed that Dhurbe was in the localities when the recent incidents occurred. We can assume Dhurbe was involved in those attacks,” said Bishnu Thapaliya, the ranger at the CNP.

According to park officials, Dhurbe killed nine people inside the buffer-zone area of the CNP, four in Bara and two in Thori. The tusker, named after Dhurba, a centre keeping elephants in the CNP, started the spree by killing Riddibir Dong, a Nepal Army soldier deployed for park security. The elephant attacked the CNP centre time and again, apparently looking to mate with a female elephant kept there.

Officials at the CNP told the Post that male tuskers go violent and attack humans during musth, an annual period of heightened aggressiveness and sexual activity in male elephants.

The increasing human-animal conflict in and around the protected areas and buffer-zone areas in recent times is seen as the biggest challenge in the field of wildlife conservation in the country. “Cases of elephants attacking humans are reported more frequently these days,” said Ganesh Pant, assistant conservation officer at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. According to him, the elephant population in Chitwan and surrounding areas has gone up, while settlements along the corridor areas, which used to be walking paths for these animals, are affecting their free movement. “The attacks are a result of the encroachment of the elephant paths by humans. The need of the hour is to manage the human settlements properly,” Pant said.

The local administration has directed officials to kill the elephant to protect locals. Thapaliya said three teams comprising park officials, security personnel, staff from elephant care centres and the National Trust for Nature Conservation have been deployed to look for Dhurbe.

Posted on: 2012-12-19 08:22

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