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�Insensitive� Army act adding to wild elephants� woes


GUWAHATI, March 11 - At a time when the plight of the Indian elephant caught in an escalating man-elephant conflict has evoked global concern, a barrier put by the Army authorities at Narangi cantonment bordering Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary has turned out to be a virtual deathtrap for the pachyderm.

The barrier comprising sharply-pointed iron spikes, according to forest officials, have claimed the lives of at least two elephants in the past one year, while another injured animal could be treated effectively. The latest such incident was reported barely a month away, in February this year. Another reported case was on December 25 last year.

Several representations made by the office of the

Guwahati Wildlife Division before the Army authorities have failed to yield any positive action.

�This is insensitive and cruel, and has led to severe injuries in several elephants � of which two have died. And we cannot know if more have died or were injured. It is generally when an injured elephant is near human habitat that we come to know about its presence,� Pradipta Baruah, DFO, Guwahati Wildlife Division told The Assam Tribune.

An Assam State Zoo veterinarian said that the recent death of the two elephants was attributable to severe septicemia caused by injuries by iron spike.

�Those were cases of severe infection resulting in septicemia on the leg. Treatment of wild elephants is difficult for obvious reasons � not the least because by the time we find them, the injuries are in very bad shape,� he said.

He added that the elephant which died in February had been carrying the injury for a long time. �It was in a terrible condition, emaciated to a great extent and its leg beyond recovery,� he said.

Elephants are known to visit the cantonment area which is located very close to Amchang sanctuary and the entire area used to be a part of wildlife habitat. The Army move is basically aimed at securing its supply depot which is often raided by elephants in search of food.

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