Bantala: The residents of Satkosia wildlife sanctuary were in for another shock Thursday as the ‘kumki’ elephant Yashoda, which had helped the forest officials to track down elusive Royal Bengal Tigress Sundari before its capture through sedation trampled a youth to death in Anugul district.
The deceased was identified as Sudur Pradhan, 45, a resident of Purunuakote village. On being informed, Purunakote IIC Bijay Kumar Haibru, forest ranger Gajendra Behera including police and forest officials sent the body for post-mortem and registered a case in this connection.
Sources said, the mahout had tied Yashoda to a bamboo bush near the Nandini nullah opposite the Purunakot forest range office.
Meanwhile, Sundar Pradhan who had laid a snare in the nullah to catch fish went close to the jumbo and tried to offer a banana plant to it. While he was feeding the trained elephant, it picked him up with its trunk, and battered him on the ground. Later on, it trampled the man to death. The incident sparked tension among the villagers.
Soon after the incident, the forest department personnel have chained the animal. They are at a loss to understand what went wrong with the animal which crushed the youth under its feet.
The incident comes at a time when Yashoda had become the darling of the locals, who believed that the elephant’s participation in the search for the elusive Sundari had finally bore fruit and the tigress was tranquilised.
Since then, people have been offering coconuts and bananas and smearing vermilion on her forehead as a mark of their gratitude as she went around the villages with her mahout.
Yashoda was brought from Chandaka Wildlife Sanctuary November 2. She assisted the forest officials in tranquilising tigress Sundari.
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