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Karnataka: Recaptured jumbo ‘Kusha’ released into forest after Maneka Gandhi’s intervention

Kusha was originally captured from the wild more than five years ago. Later it was set free into the forest during a period of ‘musth’ and did not return for a year. The elephant was captured from the wild again and kept at the Dubare Camp.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP | Madikeri |
June 4, 2021 10:32:38 pm
elephant, Kusha, captive elephantKusha was originally captured from the wild more than five years ago. Later it was set free into the forest during a period of ‘musth’ and did not return for a year.

Kusha, an elephant from Karnataka’s Dubare Camp in Kodagu was released into the Bandipur Tiger Reserve limits on Thursday evening. The elephant was recaptured from the forest a year ago.

Kusha was originally captured from the wild more than five years ago. Later it was set free into the forest during a period of ‘musth’ and did not return for a year. The elephant was captured from the wild again and kept at the Dubare Camp.

This move was opposed by many animal rights activists, including BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, who had called for its release since it has not harmed anyone.

The animal activists had demanded his immediate release from captivity. Even a team of conservationists from People For Animals visited Dubare to study the ground reality of treating this elephant.

“I had told the forest department officers during an earlier meeting to let Kusha free. They identified a suitable area to release the elephant and made other preparations for it, like fitting a radio collar on the elephant,” said Aravind Limbavali, Minister for Forest and Kannada and Culture.

Forest department officials said that Kusha has now been radio-collared and was released into the Mooleholey forest range in Bandipur Tiger Reserve which is more than 150 km from Dubare camp.

Last month, Maneka Gandhi had lashed out at the department for refusing to follow the directives of the minister. Limbavali had ordered the release of the elephant to the forest in April this year.

Gandhi, in a statement last month, had said, “It was surprising that the Chief Wildlife Warden and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests had refused to obey the orders of their own minister. I have spoken to them several times and each time they have given some excuse or the other,” she had said.

“They say efforts are on to look for herds or that it is Covid time and they are busy, or that the farmers might object. But they want to keep the harmless animal in chains for no reason except to show the minister who is the authority,” Gandhi had added.

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