Tinsukia: In the wee hours of Monday morning, two captive male domesticated elephants were intercepted by the patrolling Makum police in the district of Tinkusia of upper Assam. It was headed to Odisha from Lathao of Namsai district in Arunachal Pradesh on national highway 38. Upon seizure, it was handed over to the forest department.
The police handed over the two captive elephants along with the truck to Doomdooma's Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rajiv Das for further 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," said Rajiv Das, Divisional Forest Officer. He added that because the truck fled the police check post at Kakopathar, the police got suspicious and immediately informed their counterparts in Makum which eventually led to the take over of the truck by the police. Kakopathar is about 36 kilometres from Makum in the Tinsukia district.
According to the police, the Punjab body truck bears the registration number of Bihar and reads "BR 01 GH - 0435."
A mahout had accompanied the two elephants.
"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 Rajiv Das.
Police investigation on this matter is ongoing.
Similar to this incident, in June 2019, the chief wildlife warden and principal chief conservator of forest wildlife had given permission to transport four elephants from the two upper Assam districts of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh to Gujarat for religious proceedings. This strongly offended wildlife lover in the state which led to the filing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The Gauhati High Court, upon hearing the PIL suspended the transportation of the four elephants.
In another news, in February this year, two black panthers from the Assam state zoo were transferred to Ambani's Reliance-owned Greens Zoological Rescue and the Rehabilitation Kingdom at Jamnagar in Gujarat, which triggered a massive controversy ahead of the 2021 Assam Assembly elections.
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