Senior officials of the state forest department and the Indian army held a meeting in Sukna near Siliguri on Monday to discuss joint efforts which could be taken to ensure the safety of wild animals, especially elephants, which roamed close to the firing practice range of the defence force.
Recently, carcasses of three wild elephants had been found in the Baikunthapur forest division and the Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary. After the post-mortems, foresters claimed that the animals had suffered injuries caused by splinters.
“There is an old shooting range of the army that was set up in the sixties on the bank of the Teesta where firing practice is carried out in a regular manner. As the carcasses were found nearby, the chief wildlife warden of the state instructed us to take up the issue with the army,” said a forester who was present at the meeting.
The army, however, had clarified that no animal had been hit during the practices. All necessary precautions are being taken in such times, they had said.
According to the forester, it was decided at the meeting that aerial surveillance would be intensified to check out the presence of wild animals during shooting practices.
“Drones will be used to scan the forest before the practice. Our department will also provide the army with the necessary guidance to locate animals,” he added.
Railway signs MoU
The Northeast Frontier Railway on Monday signed an MoU with RailTel Corporation of India Limited for the installation of Intrusion Detection System (IDS) to avert train-elephant collisions and for disaster mitigation.