The male tusker which was stomping around the 193 sq km Chandaka-Dompada wildlife sanctuary with a scooter tyre stuck to its front left leg since January, left the area last night for the neighbouring Athagarh forest division. Since February 4, a dozen-odd forest officials of the sanctuary were on its heels trying to tranquilise the animal and get rid of the tyre, but had failed every time they tried as the tusker went into hiding every time it saw humans.
But before the forest officials could tranquilise the tusker on March 12 taking advantage of the fullmooon night, the elephant last night crossed over to Athgarh forest division passing through Mahanadi. The Athgarh forest division is about 10-12 km away. “Our trackers today confirmed that the elephant has crossed over,” said Chandaka Dompada divisional forest officer Kedar Swain.
Renowned veterinary professor Indramani Nath who was part of the team on hunt for the injured elephant since last one month said there were two abortive attempts at tranquilising the animal that may have driven the animal away. “On Thursday, a staff from Nandankanan zoological park in Bhubaneswar fired a transquliser dart containing 250 ml of Xylozine and Ketamin, but it hit its leg. To work effectively, the shot has to hit the muscles above the left leg. On Friday too a forest guard fired another dart, but it missed the target,” said Dr Nath.
The veterinary surgeon said it was unlikely that the animal was badly injured due to the scooter tyre. “It may just be able to get out of the tyre on its own. We hope it does soon.” he said.