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DNA test to track elephant route

By Rituraj Borthakur
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GUWAHATI, Dec 15 - With elephants increasing being spotted on areas which are not known corridors, the Forest department has taken recourse to DNA testing to identify their new routes.

Forest staff had rescued an elephant calf at Gogra Tea Estate near Tezpur on December 7 last, three days before five elephants were after being hit by a train at Bamgaon which is about 28 km from Tezpur.

The Forest department has asked NGO Aaranyak to conduct the DNA test of the rescued calf and one of the female elephants killed on the tracks which is suspected to be its mother.

Of the five elephants killed on the tracks that day, four were female and one male.

�We suspect the mother of rescued calf might have died in the train hit. To find out the fact, we are conducting the DNA tests. Udyan Borthakur of Aaranyak today collected the blood stain samples from the site of accident,� Conservator of Forest P Sivakumar told The Assam Tribune.

The conservator said by matching the DNA samples the department wants to know if the calf was from the same herd which was hit by the train.

�Elephants which are moving around in the human habitats in the Tezpur-Biswanath area are either from Nameri, Sonai Rupai or Kaziranga. We want to track their movements and the routes they are following. That is the purpose of the tests,� the conservator said.

The calf, which was rescued only about 8 km from Tezpur town, is presently being treated at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation at Kaziranga.

�The tests will take about two weeks. Only after that we can say if the DNA samples of the calf and the female elephant match,� Borthakur said.

With rising incidents of elephants being killed on railway tracks, the railway authorities has been claiming that the herds were moving in areas which are not known animal corridors and as such it was difficult to prevent them.

The area between Balipara and Dhalaibeel stations where the five elephants were killed on the intervening night of December 9 and 10 is also not an animal corridor. It is at least four kilometres away from the notified elephant corridor. Speed restrictions and other measures are taken only when the trains move in through the corridors.

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DNA test to track elephant route

GUWAHATI, Dec 15 - With elephants increasing being spotted on areas which are not known corridors, the Forest department has taken recourse to DNA testing to identify their new routes.

Forest staff had rescued an elephant calf at Gogra Tea Estate near Tezpur on December 7 last, three days before five elephants were after being hit by a train at Bamgaon which is about 28 km from Tezpur.

The Forest department has asked NGO Aaranyak to conduct the DNA test of the rescued calf and one of the female elephants killed on the tracks which is suspected to be its mother.

Of the five elephants killed on the tracks that day, four were female and one male.

�We suspect the mother of rescued calf might have died in the train hit. To find out the fact, we are conducting the DNA tests. Udyan Borthakur of Aaranyak today collected the blood stain samples from the site of accident,� Conservator of Forest P Sivakumar told The Assam Tribune.

The conservator said by matching the DNA samples the department wants to know if the calf was from the same herd which was hit by the train.

�Elephants which are moving around in the human habitats in the Tezpur-Biswanath area are either from Nameri, Sonai Rupai or Kaziranga. We want to track their movements and the routes they are following. That is the purpose of the tests,� the conservator said.

The calf, which was rescued only about 8 km from Tezpur town, is presently being treated at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation at Kaziranga.

�The tests will take about two weeks. Only after that we can say if the DNA samples of the calf and the female elephant match,� Borthakur said.

With rising incidents of elephants being killed on railway tracks, the railway authorities has been claiming that the herds were moving in areas which are not known animal corridors and as such it was difficult to prevent them.

The area between Balipara and Dhalaibeel stations where the five elephants were killed on the intervening night of December 9 and 10 is also not an animal corridor. It is at least four kilometres away from the notified elephant corridor. Speed restrictions and other measures are taken only when the trains move in through the corridors.