Tusker radio-tagged to monitor movement

The wild elephant that ambled through Guwahati in April, bringing traffic to a standstill has been fitted with a radio collar to monitor its movement, forest department officials said.

This is the first time such a thing has been done in Assam, Guwahati divisional forest officer Jitendra Kumar said.

Forest officials said the 20-year-old jumbo has been a frequent visitor to human habitations around Amchang wildlife sanctuary in Guwahati for a year. “On Wednesday, we tranquillised it inside the army cantonment, as we drove it out of a village near the sanctuary,” Kumar said.

Bijoy Gogoi, the vet who tranquillised the tusker, said this was the third time the animal had been sedated since August 2018 when it strayed on to the National Highway. “The elephant seems to have got habituated to getting food easily.” “It is frequenting human habitats, even eating out of trash bins.”

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Although the elephant has no history of attacking humans or damaging property, there have been instances of it damaging bamboo huts while scrounging for food, Kumar said. “It seems to be in a state of musth, which is when elephants become aggressive,” he said.

Radio collars that work on GPS and GSM provide data on the movement of animals with a lag of 10 minutes. The movement can be tracked on the web and on a mobile phone application.

“Monitoring its movement will help mitigate it,” said Kaushik Baruah, honorary wildlife warden, Guwahati.

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First Published:
May 26, 2019 07:36 IST

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