Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 5:
The wild elephant that invaded Nandankanan Zoo in Odisha and attacked other elephants will be sent to Khunta forest under Damapada sanctuary today.
“The health condition of the elephant is good and it appears calmer today. We have fed him banana plants, grass and sugarcane. We will tranquillize him again today and load it on to a truck using a crane and send it to Khunta forest where it would be set free,” said a zoo official.
Range officer Anjan Kumar Mohanty, Sarat Sahoo and Forester Ramchandara Kandi will also accompany the animal to ensure its smooth release into the forests.
Forest Department Secretary Upendra Nath Behera and Odisha chief conservator of forests (wildlife) S S Srivastava visited the elephant zone of Nandankanan zoo along with the director of Nandankanan Sudarshan Panda yesterday and inspected the health condition of the locked up tusker.
Zoo officials told the visiting secretary and chief conservator that the tusker was driven out of its original herd and was roaming around the zoo alone.
It may be noted that the tusker sneaked into the zoo from the adjacent Chandaka sanctuary on Jan 1 to mate with ‘Heera’, a she elephant of the zoo. The authorities were forced to prevent the entry of visitors to the zoo for the better part of the day. The intruder was driven out of the zoo area after a two and half hour brawl on that day.
However, it hung around in the nearby forest only to return once again on Jan 2 and attack other cow elephants and wreak havoc around the zoo. After being tranquillized on Saturday, it was kept in captivity in the elephant zone of Nandankanan and the condition of its health and behaviour was being monitored at regular intervals.