Jorhat, Feb. 10: Kaziranga National Park authorities yesterday managed to tranquillise a rogue elephant, which had created panic among the forest staff in the past few days.
The 30-year old Babu, a departmental elephant, was in musth and had killed its mahout a few days ago.
It had also attacked and injured another department elephant, Bikudar, claimed to be the largest domestic elephant in possession of the park authorities, a few days ago.
Musth is a periodic condition in bull elephants, characterised by highly aggressive behaviour and increase in reproductive hormones.
A Kaziranga official said Babu was tranquillised in a forest area near Baneswar forest camp under the Burapahar range of the park and is being kept chained to a tree.
“He will be ready for department work soon after the musth period gets over,” the official said.
Abhijit Bhawal, the veterinarian who was involved in the operation, said it took four days to locate and tranquillise Babu, which had killed its mahout, Nirmal Barman, on January 28.
The elephant had turned aggressive and had escaped into the forest. It had also chased the forest team involved in the operation several times, he said.
“On the first day of the operation, we were chased for more than 2km by the elephant. We had to run for our lives,” Bhawal said.
He said the elephant also got involved in a fight with Bikudar, which was being used to locate Babu.“We were on top of Bikudar and trying to track Babu when the rogue elephant appeared from the jungle and attacked,” he said.
The forest team jumped from the elephant’s back and managed to escape, as the two elephants got involved in more than an hourlong battle.
“Both the elephants were injured in the battle, which ended as Babu retreated to the jungle,” Bhawal said.
He said Babu was finally located yesterday near the Baneswar camp. “We stealthily approached him and shot the dart.”
Babu, however, ran for over half-a-km before the tranquilliser took affect.
“We had to shoot another dart before approaching the elephant and finally we chained it to a tree. It has been kept under observation,” Bhawal said.
The Kaziranga official said it was normal for a male elephant to go into a musth and this was not the first such case.
“We normally separate the elephant in a musth and tie it to a tree for about a month. It returns to normal in a few days,” he said.