The Delhi government has launched an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of six elephants from the capital. The disappearances have led officials to cancel the ownership licences of mahouts given to them under the Wildlife Protection Act.
Chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden Anil Kumar Shukla said during a recent inspection, six elephants were found missing. A committee headed by conservator of forests Dr Suneesh Buxy was constituted to conduct an enquiry into the matter.
Shukla said the inspection was carried out after the Wildlife department received complaints of animals being ill-treated.
“Our officials conducted inspections and reported that six elephants were missing. According to official data available with the Wildlife department, there are 14 elephants in Sangam Vihar, South Delhi. The owners of six elephants were not able to explain or give a satisfactory reply regarding what had happened to the elephants,” Shukla said.
Meanwhile, sources in the forest department said a search for the elephants was being conducted in the outskirts of the city.
“It can’t be discounted that some of the elephants died. Or perhaps the elephants were sold off in neighbouring states,” an official said. Officials said licences of the mahouts had already been cancelled. “After the license gets cancelled, action will be initiated against the owners,” Shukla said.
There were 24 elephants in the city till 2009. But their habitat near Thokar near ITO bridge got disturbed during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.