Guwahati: Amid court’s intervention and opposition from wildlife experts, Assam forest department in a fresh move has resumed its efforts to transfer four juvenile elephants from the state to a temple in Gujarat.
This came to light after a team of veterinary expert constituted by the state government on Tuesday held a review meeting and said that the prevailing weather condition is suitable for transfer of the juvenile jumbos to Gujarat compared to the temperatures in the month of June.
The veterinary experts committee headed by Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Director Dr PC Das, comprising of Dr Gauranga Mahato from College of Veterinary Science, Forest Vet Dr Bijoy Kumar Gogoi and veterinary officers Dr Debabrata Phukan and Dr Pranjit Barua however assured that they will examine the health condition of the elephants at their original locations before giving a go-ahead to the forest department’s decision.
Speaking with EastMojo, Dr PC Das, head of the experts committee, informed that after receiving a proposal from the forest department as directed by the state government our team of experts held a meeting at College of Veterinary Sciences in Guwahati on Tuesday evening and decided to examine health conditions of all the four elephants at its original place and further move ahead with procedures that are in accordance to guidelines of elephant transfer laws.
“But before coming to a final decision or giving a green signal to the forest department’s decision, we will examine the health condition of all the four elephants whether they are fit to be transferred to a different land,” Dr Das added.
Meanwhile, the expert committee has proposed the state forest department to make all necessary arrangements so that they can examine the elephants by the first week of December.
In June this year, Assam government decided to transfer four elephants — Joytara and Rupsing, owned by Piyal Moran of Digboi, Rani owned by Jogi Nath Pegu of Tinsukia, and Babulal owned by Moneswar Moran of Doomdooma — to take part in a religious occasion at Gujarat.
But the state government and forest department’s move was widely criticised after an expert committee opined that elephants may die of heatstroke due to high temperature and heat wave prevailing at Gujarat and rest of North India around that time.
Interestingly, after doubts surfaced that two of the four elephants are not captive-born, the inspector general attached to the ministry of environment, forests and climate change, who is also in responsibility as the Project Elephant director, directed the state’s chief wildlife warden to conduct an investigation into the background of the elephants.