Sick story changes, Haridwar jumbo shot

Forest officers had at first said the tusker had died of illness but it was found on Friday that a bullet was stuck in its heart

  • Published 11.11.18, 2:00 AM
  • Updated 11.11.18, 2:00 AM
  • a min read
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The elephant was shot near Daluwala, a village in Uttarakhand’s Khanpur forest range. (Shutterstock)

Wildlife smugglers shot an elephant dead near a Haridwar village on the night of Diwali despite the forest department’s claims of being on high alert and extensive patrolling during the festival season.

Forest officers had at first said the tusker had died of illness but it was found on Friday that a bullet was stuck in its heart.

“We have registered an FIR against unidentified killers and an extensive probe has been started,” the area’s sub-divisional magistrate, N.B. Sharma, said.

The elephant was shot near Daluwala, a village in Uttarakhand’s Khanpur forest range.

Khanpur ranger Mukesh Kumar said there was 100 per cent attendance of forest officials on Diwali night and they were on the move round the clock to keep a close watch on the movement of intruders.

Akash Verma, divisional forest officer, confirmed that cases had been registered.

Sources in the forest department said the elephant appears to have been shot from close range. A forensic report is awaited, they said.

“The killers must be wildlife smugglers who would have planned to return the next night to saw off the tusks. But the forest officials found the elephant in the morning,” said an officer who asked not to be named.

An elephant was earlier killed on September 16 in the same area and its tusks were stolen.

The government had then suspended two forest officials for dereliction of duty. Four people were later arrested with the tusks.

Another elephant was killed in the Barkot forest range of Dehradun district in August this year.

In 2017, 32 elephants were either killed or found dead in the forests of the hill state. According to official records, 355 elephants have died or been killed in Uttarakhand since 2001.

The state’s elephant population has, however, increased, from 1,582 in 2003 to 1,839 this year.