Temperamental tusker Don is living up to his name by holding Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary to ransom.
The 48-year-old elephant, which returned to Dalma last week from jungles in Bengal’s West Midnapore and Bankura districts, is chasing forest officers and villagers at different locations of the sprawling 192sqkm sanctuary.
The loner jumbo went after range officer Mangal Kashyap near Majla Bandh on Tuesday afternoon while he was heading for an inspection. On Wednesday morning, Don terrorised a forest patrol team near Chittingdau and repeated the act with a group of trackers — youths hired to keep a tab on movement of elephants — going uphill via Rajdoha.
“The tusker was ahead of my vehicle when it suddenly stopped, glanced at us and charged. We changed the route and sped off in a hurry. The elephant chased us for around 500m,” Kashyap told The Telegraph.
The forest officer added that Don was moody and reacted when he found someone near him. The tusker is also known to react when he feels that he is being followed.
“Don is the only temperamental elephant in the sanctuary. Others are docile,” Kashyap added.
Bhadodih forester Dinesh Kumar and his team also had a brush with the raging tusker near Chittingdau on Wednesday morning.
“We were doing rounds of the sanctuary in a jeep when Don appeared from nowhere and chased us half a kilometre. We were very scared, as the elephant seemed angry. We sped off to the nearby Pinderbera guest house,” Kumar said.
Tracker Rohit Tudu said they were lucky to be alive as Don was very close to them. “We were going uphill from near Rajdoha in the morning when the rogue tusker suddenly emerged from a bush. He chased us for about a kilometre. Our group of five disintegrated and ran for cover in different directions. We have to be very careful,” he added.
A forester ruled out the possibility that Don’s rage was a result of sexual aggression. “Tuskers behave roughly when they become sexually aggressive. But Don has always remained a rogue. He was docile for a brief period in 2011,” he said.
Don had considerably mellowed down in 2011 and become friendly with other elephants, bringing relief to tourists and foresters. He was also accepted by a herd of five.