GUWAHATI, Nov 1 - A frantic search by Forest officials, using drones, have led to spotting of the problematic elephant which had reportedly killed five people in Goalpara district two days back.
�The elephant was located today inside Satabari reserve forest under Ronjuli range. We believe it is the same elephant,� Chief Conservator of Forest Akashdeep Baruah, head of the committee formed by the Forest department to locate the elephant, told The Assam Tribune.
However, the eight-member committee is not sure whether it is the same makhna (tusk-less male elephant) �Laden� which had been responsible for killing over 30 people in the district in the last couple of years.
�From eye-witness accounts and description of locals who have seen the animal, it appears that it may not be the same problematic animal. This one is a probably a musth,� another member of the committee said. Musth is a periodic condition in bull (male) elephants characterised by highly aggressive behaviour and accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones.
The Forest department is now arranging kunkis (trained elephants) to study and monitor the elephant closely.
The study committee, formed after the killing of five people, had yesterday visited Goalpara and held discussion with Forest officials there.
�There are many things we need to see before suggesting any action. We first need to establish the identity of the animal. We then have to track its movement and monitor its activity. The ground situation also needs to be assessed,� he said.
The committee is also mapping the greater area where the elephant has been spotted and verifying if the same elephant was responsible for killing all the five people.
�Five people in 24 hours is something not easy. We need to map the places where the victims were killed and see if an elephant can travel the distances within that time, given the topography and other factors,� the member said.
After taking into consideration all the factors, including the animal behaviour the committee will decide on the short-term and long-term measures needed to be taken.
�We will sit again on Monday and decide the next course of action,� the member said.
For the last one year, the Forest department had been contemplating on capturing and translocating the wild jumbo �Laden� which had been creating terror in the Rongjuli-Krishnai-Goalpara belt. For the last two years, the elephant � an �outcast� from a herd � has been moving around alone.
There are two herds of elephants which move around in the Rongjuli-Goalpara area which have come down from the Garo Hills.