Of­fi­cials struggle to find out why tusker was shot dead

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - NATION - Su­parna Roy

DEHRADUN: Three days af­ter the body of a 20-year-old tusker was found in Harid­war divi­sion, of­fi­cials of the state for­est depart­ment are still strug­gling to fig­ure out why was the ele­phant shot.

The post-mortem re­port re­vealed that the an­i­mal was shot Thurs­day in the front left foot us­ing a lo­cal gun and had died around 4am the next day.

Chief wildlife war­den Mon­ish Mul­lick termed the in­ci­dent “alarm­ing” and said that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion was be­ing car­ried out to as­cer­tain why the ele­phant was shot, say­ing that the an­i­mal’s pres­ence was “not recorded in the vil­lage”, which rules out the cause that it may have been tar­geted for en­ter­ing the hu­man set­tle­ment. “Through the post-mortem, the bul­let head was traced in the ven­tri­cle area of heart in­side the ele­phant’s body. The bul­let punc­tured the lungs and hit the heart,” said Akash Verma, di­vi­sional for­est of­fi­cer, Harid­war.

The DFO, who is in charge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the case, said that dur­ing the comb­ing op­er­a­tion on Fri­day, within a 500 me­tre ra­dius of the spot where the ele­phant’s car­cass was found in Hazara Grant vil­lage in Khan­pur range, for­est of­fi­cials had also lo­cated blood stains.

“Ev­i­dence in­di­cates that the an­i­mal had not vis­ited the vil­lage that night, so there is no chance of it get­ting shot in the vil­lage. Though we are not deny­ing the in­volve­ment of villagers.”

Mean­while, for­est of­fi­cials have been left red-faced as the ele­phant was shot on the night of Di­wali, when an alert had been is­sued by the depart­ment.

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