Elephants seized in Assam

Tinsukia: A preliminary investigation into the captive elephant seizure case has pointed out a violation of several sections of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Assam Forest Regulation (Amendment) Act, prompting the court to send the two accused persons to judicial custody till April 27.

The court has also agreed to the petition filed by the Range Protection Officer, Protection Range of Doomdooma Rinkumoni Borah, allowing her to transfer the seized elephants to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) at Kaziranga.

On Monday, a truck carrying two captive elephants was intercepted by the Makum police at National Highway 38 after the truck driver ignored a check post at Kakopathar, around 20 km from Makum. The captive elephants were being transported from Arunachal Pradesh to Odisha.

Talking to EastMojo, Divisional Forest Officer of Doomdooma, Rajiv Das said prima facie investigation reveals the violation of section 42/43 and 49(B)(IV) of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and sections 34/35/40/41 of Assam Forest Regulation (Amendment) Act.

Also Read: Captive elephants on way to Odisha intercepted in Assam

“We did not found any transit pass which is mandatory for movement of captive animals, particularly a Schedule 1 animal, like elephants,” Das said, adding that the NOC from the principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) of the state where elephants were being moved, Odisha in the present case, is missing. “The permission accorded by the PCCF, Arunachal Pradesh, is also not in the requisite format as mandated by the law,” he added.

Das said the Arunachal Pradesh PCCF is required to intimate the nearest state PCCF about the movement of captive animals, which has not happened in this case.

Sources said the PCCF of any state cannot accord permission for transport of captive animals in the absence of NOC by PCCF of the receiving state.

Sources said the court sent the accused Meghan Kumar and Barun Kumar to judicial custody till April 27. “The court has directed the forest official to translocate the elephant to CWRC at Kaziranga by following all the provisions and rules and to report compliance to the court,” the source added.

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