Assam Forest Department as well as BJP legislator from Sootea Padma Hazarika have drawn severe criticism after an elephant named Krishna died in captivity on Sunday.
RTI activist Rohit Choudhury has demanded immediate removal of the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) of Assam for allowing a non-technical person to shoot the dart on the rogue elephant, which was a Schedule I animal.
“Has Chief Wildlife Warden, Assam, issued permission to Padma Hazarika (MLA) U/s 11 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, to tranquilise the Elephant (Schedule I)..?” tweeted Choudhury, who is the winner of Balipara Green Legal Award 2016 and Sanctuary Wildlife Service Award 2018.
Elephants are Schedule I species under category 12-A, meaning they are facing the threat of extinction. The animals in Schedule I and part II of Schedule I are under strict government protection.
“The Forest Minister should clarify under which section was MLA Padma Hazarika allowed to tranquilise the elephant. Is he more capable than Forest Department?” Choudhury said in another tweet.
“The CWW should be removed immediately,” said Choudhury.
Assam’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forests had sent a letter to Hazarika requesting him to be an advisor on a committee constituted to mitigate the problem triggered by the rogue elephant in Goalpara district.
The forest department said that preliminary findings indicated cardiac arrest as the cause of death of the elephant.
“The preliminary findings indicate cardiac arrest as the cause of death and the detailed post-mortem report is awaited,” a statement issued by the department said.
“The elephant was under constant observation and good care, and had started responding well to the Mahouts. The elephant had its normal intake of food and showed normal behaviour, and was also lightly fed at 4 am and 5 am,” it stated.