KERI: Reports about elephants migrating into the forests of Goa and Maharashtra and getting into conflicts with humans, thus leading to casualties, are not uncommon.
Recently, four elephants who migrated from the Anshi-Dandeli tiger reserve of Karnataka destroyed agricultural and horticultural crops of farmers in the valley of Mangao. Villagers tried to force these elephants to move out, resulting in grave casualties among locals and elephants.
On Tuesday, villagers of Hindewadi in Maharashtra noticed an elephant trapped inside a swampy area and struggling against death. Upon being intimated, forest department of Maharashtra officials and hundreds of villagers from surrounding areas rushed to the spot. As Sindhudurg district lacks trained and skilled forest officials with knowledge about wild elephants' behaviour, the forest department contacted forest officials from Goa and Karnataka.
Veterinary doctor Satyavan Naik along with forest officials from Bondla zoo and sanctuary from Goa went to Hindewadi and examined the elephant. They instructed their Maharashtra counterparts about the necessary treatment and precautionary measures to be taken.
Amrutsingh of the Animal Rescue Squad, who along with volunteers Vitthal Shelke and Pandurang Gawas, visited the spot and examined the elephant said, "The elephant's condition is critical, I noticed a deep wound on its head. The man-elephant conflict is probably responsible for the injuries."
Sanjay Kadam, range forest officer of Kudal, Maharashtra, told TOI, "We are giving the elephant the necessary medical treatment. A team of experts from Shimoga in Karnataka is already in service at Hindewadi. Another team of wildlife experts and a veterinary doctor from Goa also visited the spot at night. All the possible steps are being taken to save the elephant."
Deputy conservators of forests from Sawantwadi Tukaram Salunke and Prakash Bagewadi, and veterinary doctor of Kudal R P Dhawale were also present at the site. Presently, Mangao valley has four elephants, while Tillari valley has three. Some of these elephants were chased out of Bicholim, Pernem and Bardez areas.