GUWAHATI, June 24 - The forest department is contemplating on capturing and translocating a wild jumbo that had been creating terror in the Rongjuli-Krishnai-Goalpara belt since the last couple of years.
Locals have named the makhana (tusk-less male elephant) �Laden� and the forest department suspects it has killed over 30 people in the last three years in the area.
�Locals had first noticed the elephant in 2015 when it had come down from Garo Hills. For about a year, it was a part of a four-member herd, but for the last two years it has been moving around alone,� DFO Goalpara Aiswarzya Goswami told this newspaper.
There are two herds of elephants which move around in the Rongjuli-Goalpara area coming down from the Garo Hills.
�In the last three years, the elephant passage in Garo Hills has gradually been blocked with human barriers. When the elephants try to move to the Garo Hills, people chase them away, frighten them and as a result the elephants have stopped going towards the hills,� the DFO said.
Laden, around 30 years old and 8 feet tall, is an �outcast� and no herd is willing to take him along.
�It might be out of frustration that it attacks people. He normally attacks people in late evenings or at night. Now we have observed that he even moves on the road majestically. When he comes across a human, he tends to kick him or attack him,� Goswami said.
When the villagers spot the elephant, they start shouting, burst crackers, beat drums, gherao him and scare him through various means. This is another reason why he gets panicky and attacks people, observers say.
Laden usually goes out in search of granaries at night. Residents come under his attack at those times. �In the last six months, he has killed four people. However, the department suspects that he might have killed over 30 people in the last three years,� a forest official said.
The DFO insists that he has not seen any �rogue� character in the elephant.
The department has been tracking the solitary elephant�s movement for the last few months, and it is seen that it goes untraceable for a few days after every attack.
A team of forest officials, led by PCCF (Wildlife) on Thursday, visited Goalpara to explore the possibilities of capturing him. The chief wildlife warden has convened a meeting on Monday with experts to take a final call on the matter.
�It will not be an easy operation. We are looking into all pros and cons. It requires preparations. A team has to first go and station there and observe his activity and behaviour for a few days,� an official said.