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Jumbo duo tamed

Alipurduar, Feb. 18: Two supposedly difficult-to-discipline elephant siblings from Buxa, who were sent to Jaldapara, have started going on patrols in the sanctuary after two weeks of training under their new minders.

The mahouts at Buxa Tiger Reserve who were expected to train the jumbos were scared to go near the two for several months as they were aggressive. For the past one year, Chanchal, 14, and Digambar, 10, were not given any forest duty.

The two elephants were sent to a training centre at Shishamara that supposedly has the best training base for jumbos in the state, considering its success rate of bringing up rescued calves. The two were later shifted to Malangi beat.

Chanchal and Digambar were born in South Rydak beat in BTR (East) and foresters said Chanchal was more mischievous than Digambar.

Foresters said the brothers had become obedient and were allowing mahouts to mount on them. The animals would take part in a rhino census in Jaldapara that is likely to start from February 23.

“Within two weeks, the elephants have started patrolling and are under the control of the mahouts. They will participate in the rhino census. For the time being, they will be kept in Jaldapara,” said Rajendra Jakhar, the divisional forest officer, wildlife III.

The elephants had last gone on patrol in 2010.Foresters said at Jaldapara, the jumbos were chained for four days and two kunkis, Champakali and Madhumala, were kept near them. Chanchal’s mahout Kodal Subba was injured one day when the elephant threw a banyan branch at him. From the fifth day, the forelegs of the animals were kept free and Kodal and five other mahouts started the training.

An ankush (a small stick made of iron) was used to tame the jumbos. They were trained for around six hours everyday and caned if they did not follow commands.

A mahout could mount Chanchal on the seventh day and the elephant was taken for patrolling. Digambar was also taken for patrolling that day.

“Chanchal saw a rhino and tried to run as he got scared. But after half-an-hour the jumbo started chasing the rhino. I was relieved as I understood Chanchal could go into the forest alone and was responding to our commands,” Kodal said.

S.S. Bist, the principal chief conservator of forest, said: “I am very happy that in such a short period the mahouts have trained the elephants. They deserve appreciation.”