Nepali Gov’t officials divided over how to deal with killer elephant

Photo: Bishnu Gautam

killing Dhurbe, the elephant

KATHMANDU – Three weeks after the local administration mobilized security personnel to kill a wild elephant named Dhurbe of the Chitwan National Park after it killed an old couple entering their home in a village on 14 December, the whereabouts of the elephant has not been ascertained for almost two weeks.

The park officials claimed that they were not getting any signal from the radio collar fit in the tusker a month ago.

The local administration was compelled to take such decision after the relatives and villagers of the deceased demonstrated for days by obstructing the East-West highway and refusing to accept the bodies of the deceased.

An armed group of 93 consisting of personnel from the Nepal Army and the Chitwan National Parks was mobilized to kill the elephant but it has still been unable to find Dhurbe. However, the officials at the Department of the National Park and wildlife Conservation claimed that Dhurbe was injured in firings from the army men twice.

“Dhurbe is now injured as several rounds of bullets were fired at it twice. But it is still not known where it is hiding in the bush,” said Kamal Jung Kunwar, conservation education officer at the Department.

When the park officials failed to trace out the tusker for about a fortnight, the government transferred its chief warden Jhamak Bahadur Karki last week.

However, Information and Communications Minister Raj Kishor Yadav who arrived Chitwan to put cancellation mark on a postage stamp said last Friday that the tusker would not be killed, instead it would be tamed after capturing.

The minister’s such claims drew criticism from the local chief district officer who had issued an order to kill the tusker.

The officials at the National Park and the local administration said that it would be killed although many people expressing their views in social media like facebook and twitter against the killing of Dhurbe.

“As the local administration decided to kill it and it has not drawn its decision, Dhurbe might be killed,” said Kunwar.

In three years, Dhurbe killed 15 people in and around the National Park. The tusker was named Dhurbe after it killed a Nepal Army man called Dhurba deployed in the park three years ago.

It was reported that the tusker poured its anger on humans when more powerful elephants in the Park prevented it from reaching near female elephants during the mating season.

The local administration took the decision to kill it by announcing that it went mad.

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