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Since 1st March, 1999
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Microchip in macro tread

- Dalma elephant duo get implants to warn foresters of torture

One does not know if female elephants like to put on trinkets, much less hi-tech ones. But Basmati and Raimati, two rescued domesticated pachyderms now at Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, around 20km from Jamshedpur, can now each boast microchip implants on their left hind legs.

In a first-of-its-kind move in Jharkhand, the movement of Basmati and Raimati would now be tracked via microchip implants, inserted on December 19 by Dalma wildlife sanctuary officials acting on the order of principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife) A.K. Malhotra.

Both had been rescued from unlicenced mahouts in September 2010 from Jamtara forest. The principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) ordered the duo to stay at the elephant rescue centre at Dalma sanctuary.

Kamlesh Pandey, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Ranchi division who looks after Dalma, said the microchip implants on the rescued elephants were a necessary high-tech shield according to Centre-sponsored Project Elephant norms, under Union ministry of environment and forests.

The case of these two rescued elephants is with Jamtara court. But a person from Uttar Pradesh has produced ownership licence in court. According to norms, the Jamtara court will order the release of the elephants and the PCCF (wildlife) will then hand over the animals to the custody of owners.

But the elephants will be released with 5mm microchips, each of which has a unique numeric code and details like name, parental identity or source of origin, residential address, name of mahout and owner and even tasks the animals are supposed to perform.

The chips are linked via GPS to the network of digital reader scanners that foresters own. If an elephant registered for a particular purpose is used for any other activity, foresters will be immediately alerted.

“We are awaiting the release order of the elephants from Jamtara court. The case is sub judice. The court is likely to order the release of the two elephants soon. So, we have also completed the formalities from our end to ensure the elephants won’t be ill-treated,” said the DFO.

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