Tinsukia: Makum police on Sunday night intercepted a truck with two captive elephants headed to Odisha from Arunachal Pradesh on national highway 38 in Assam’s Tinsukia district and handed it over to the forest department. 

Talking to EastMojo, Doomdooma Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rajiv Das confirmed that police handed over a truck with two captive elephants for verification.

“They have also handed over some papers including permission accorded to transport the elephant by principal chief conservator of forest (Arunachal Pradesh) and veterinary doctor’s report,” he added.

The move to transport two elephants from Arunachal’s Namsai district to Odisha came at a time when the temperature in the state’s capital Bhubaneswar has already surged to 35 degrees Celsius, and months after “torture of captive elephants” in Kerala made headlines.

“The police got suspicious after the truck fled a police check post at Kakopathar, who informed their counterparts in Makum, leading to the detention of the truck,” Das added. Kakopather, in Tinsukia district, is around 36 km from Makum.

The elephants were accompanied by a mahout. “We have taken up the matter with the forest department of Arunachal Pradesh and are writing to them to verify the authenticity of the documents. We will check whether all rules to transport elephants have been followed and take action accordingly,” said Das.  

In June 2019, the chief wildlife warden and principal chief conservator of forest wildlife  had accorded permission to transport four elephants from upper Assam’s Tinsukia and Dibrugarh district to Gujarat for religious purposes, evoking a strong resentment among wildlife lovers. The move was later suspended after the interference of Gauhati High Court while hearing a PIL.

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