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Rhino tramples labourer

Alipurduar, Oct. 18: A rhino killed a banmajdur (forest worker) here this afternoon and seriously injured a beat officer. The officer is battling for life at the Falakata Hospital.

According to officials, the incident took place in compartment No. 1 of the Mainadanga beat of Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary when beat officer Subhash Pal along with his staff were patrolling like other days.

While Dasai Oraon, 35, was standing under the shade of a tree, Pal was keeping watch from a distance. A rhino, which was crossing the area along with its calf, suddenly attacked Oraon from behind and trampled him.

At this, Pal fired at the rhino. The animal then attacked him and injured the official seriously. Both Pal and Oraon were taken to the hospital, where the labourer was declared dead.

Forest department officials said whenever a rhino moves with its calf, it panics on seeing people. Feeling that its calf is in danger, the animal attacks.

A search is on with the help of kunkis (trained elephants) to locate the rhino, which, officials said, might have been injured in the firing. “If the rhino is found injured, it has to be treated on an emergency basis,” an official said. He added that a few days ago, another rhino had injured a villager in the Salkumarhat area adjacent to the sanctuary under Alipurduar Block-I.

K.K. Singh, the chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said tonight in Calcutta that Pal’s condition was being monitored. “We are seriously concerned about (the) regular attacks by rhinos on beat officers and banmajdurs in the sanctuaries,” Singh said.

He added that the forest department has worked out a plan to provide “ more protection” to them. There are over 50 wild rhinos in Jaldapara sanctuary.

He said chief conservator of forests Udayan Dasgupta, presently touring north Bengal, will pay a visit to the Jaldapara sanctuary.

In another incident, a large-size python has been rescued in Alipurduar town this morning. The python was spotted when a group of fishermen were cleaning a drain to catch fish in the Babupara area of the town. They suddenly came across Python and handed over it to the forest department. A forest official said that it is nearly nine ft. long and it has been released in the deep jungles.

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