Elephant calf beaten to death

Barely a day after the Centre declared the elephant a national heritage animal on October 22, people in Gobha, near the Sonaikuchi reserve forest of Morigaon district adjacent to the Assam-Meghalaya border, killed a three-year-old female calf. According to a report on Tuesday, the incident took place when a herd of elephants descended from the Meghalaya side and entered the tribal-dominated Gobha area, about 70 km from Guwahati, on Friday night. Fearing destruction of their paddy fields, villagers came out of their houses with fireworks and shooed away the herd. Unfortunately, a three-year-old female calf, which was suffering from septicemia, could not flee along with the rest of the herd. The following day, residents found her in a low-lying area. They attacked the calf with sharp weapons, including spears, to chase her away. By the time forest officials and a veterinary team arrived, people had fatally injured the calf. “We had a difficult time stopping the crowd from attacking the calf even though the veterinary team was ready to rescue the animal. The crowd was uncontrollable. We had to call the police,” said A Ahmed, Nagaon divisional forest officer. “By the time the police team arrived, the elephant was in a bad condition. We took away the calf but unfortunately it died,” Ahmed added. The postmortem found that the elephant had been suffering from septicemia. With the harvest season drawing near, Nagaon and Morigaon are witnessing an increase in cases of man-elephant conflict. Ahmed said every night jumbo herds enter paddy fields and destroy crops. Two persons have been trampled by wild elephants in Salna and Tarkup areas in Assam’s Nagaon district in the past couple of days. In the last two months, four people have been killed by jumbos in Nagaon alone.

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