It’s a jumbo chase as a team of the district forest and wildlife office is trying hard to bring 10 registered elephants in the district for medical-check up.
It comes two days after a registered elephant, Reshma, mauled 4-year-old Vicky to death at the fruit market near Jalandhar bypass, prompting district forest officer Daljit Singh Brar to constitute a four-member committee and conduct health check-up of all captive elephants in Ludhiana.
The team constituting range officers Khushwinder Singh, Vijay Kishore, Sukhpal Singh and Gurcharan Singh began their search for elephants and their owners in Sanjay Gandhi Colony on Tajpur road.
As per the list of registered elephants in the forest office, six female elephants — namely Laxmi, Phoolmati, Reshma, Chechal, Laxmi and Laxmi — are registered with owners living in Sanjay Gandhi Colony on Tajpur road while four others — Roopkali, Pawankali, Goga and an unnamed elephant — are registered with owners living in Industrial Area near Focal Point.
Speaking to Newsline, range officer Vijay Kishore said, “Upon visiting there, we found that all these owners are part of one community which uses elephants for livelihood. Neither Reshma was present nor was her owner. His relatives said that they had gone to the outskirts of Punjab on a tour. They generally beg in the name of religion using elephants, or take them to religious processions to earn money. The entire community was scared because of the kid’s death. We have told them to bring all their elephants to forest office for medical check-up on Monday.”
Range officer Gurcharan Singh said, “It was a challenging task to locate all 10 elephants, especially because they keep moving with their owners for livelihood. We found the community but they said that elephants were on tour and even Reshma was not there.”
The forest team has also taken a written undertaking from the community that they will be present at the forest office along with their elephants on Monday.
“The vet has been called on Monday when owners along with their elephants and documents have been told to come. We have to submit the report to higher officials by Tuesday,” said Khushwinder Singh, range officer heading the four-member committee.
The team is yet to trace four elephants registered with addresses in the Industrial Area. Forest officials say that as per the Wildlife Act, owners of captive elephants have to get medical check-up done of their pets at least once a year and it is yet to be seen if fitness certificates of all these 10 elephants are updated.
“The community submitted some documents of one elephant today when we visited them. Let’s see if they get all documents on Monday or not,” said Kishore.
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