Wild tusker runs amok in Siliguri, damages houses, flattens vehicles

The elephant was first spotted at Dabgram, Fulbari areas within ward numbers 30 and 40 of Siliguri town which falls within the limits of Jalpaiguri district.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Updated: February 11, 2016 9:24 am
Siliguri, elephant, Baikunthapur, elephant Baikunthapur, Baikunthapur forest area, west bengal news, india news A wild elephant had wandered from the Baikunthapur forest in Siliguri, West Bengal, crossing roads and a small river before entering the town. The panicked elephant ran amok, trampling parked cars and motorbikes before it was tranquilised. (AP Photo)

A wild elephant strayed out of Baikunthapur forest North Bengal and went on a rampage in Siliguri for around seven hours on Wednesday, damaging over 40 houses and shops and trampling several vehicles before being tranquilised.

The male elephant was first spotted in Dabgram and Fulbari areas around 6 am, sparking panic among the locals who tried to chase it away by bursting firecrackers and throwing hot water on it.

Photos: Elephant rampages Siliguri town, smashing homes

Sources said forest personnel rushed to the spot and fired a tranquiliser dart, but it failed to have any effect on the elephant. As people started crowding the area, the tusker went deeper into the town through Chota Phapri, Asighar More, Eastern ByPass Road, Ektiasal, Isckon Mandir Road before reaching the busy Sevoke Road. The busy road had to be closed for traffic as a mob took over the street on the trail of the elephant, a forest officer said, adding that some people suffered bruises in the melee.

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“People flocked in thousands and tried to create a barricade. It could have been easily driven out otherwise through the Ektiasal area,” said Animesh Bose, programme coordinator of Himalayan Nature and Adventure Foundation.

R Pradhan, Divisional Forest Officer of Baikunthapur, said the wildlife squad was twice on the brink of driving the animal away but the mob present at the spot proved a major deterrent. “On the third attempt, the elephant panicked and moved deeper into the town,” he said.

The elephant was finally stopped after about seven hours when it was hit by tranquiliser dart for the second time. As it got drowsy, wildlife officials lifted it onto a truck with the help of two cranes.

Additional principal chief conservator of forest P T Bhutia said the wildlife officials managed to prevent any major damage by the elephant.

The forest official said the elephant will be examined by vets before being released in Sukhna forest under Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary.

People stand on rooftops to watch a wild elephant that strayed into the town stands after authorities shot it with a tranquilizer gun at Siliguri in West Bengal state, India, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016. The elephant had wandered from the Baikunthapur forest on Wednesday, crossing roads and a small river before entering the town. The panicked elephant ran amok, trampling parked cars and motorbikes before it was tranquilized. (AP Photo) People stand on rooftops to watch a wild elephant that strayed into the town. Authorities later shot it with a tranquilizer gun at Siliguri, West Bengal. (AP Photo)