A lovesick pachyderm on killing spree and animal rights

A lovesick pachyderm on a killing spree after being denied attempts to mate has been the focus of forest officials and animal rights activists for the past week in Nepal.

Named Dhrube, the male tusker is being held responsible for deaths of 15 persons over the past four years — an outcome of failed attempts to mate with females believe forest officials.

Though he has been around for some time and has caused havoc in Nepal’s southern plains, the wild animal caught national attention recently after he trampled a couple in their 60s to death in Chitwan. He is said to have killed five other people in the past three months.

That attack led to protests by locals who resorted to strikes demanding death for Dhrube and adequate compensation to the couples’ kin. The protests subsided after assurances of monetary relief and a hunt was ordered to track down the pachyderm and kill it.

At present a Nepal Army team with officials of Chitwan National Park is busy looking for the animal that seems to have disappeared. There were reports last week that several shots had been fired at Dhrube—but they are yet to be confirmed.

Forest officials who admit that the department doesn’t have the mechanism or resources to tame the elephant say that killing him is the only option available as Dhrube has become a “serial killer”. They say the elephant’s death will act as a lesson and prevent more such deaths in future.

It is said that unfulfilled sexual desire over a long time after he was thrown out of his herd and attacks by humans are the reasons why the tusker became violent and resorted to killing people and attacking other elephants.

But had the authorities acted on time and allowed Dhrube to mate with female elephants at the breeding centre in Chitwan National Park things would not have come to such a pass. There are several instances of wild male tuskers mating with females in the centre.

As the hunt for Dhrube intensifies, animal rights activists have begun campaigning to find a legal and humane solution to the issue.

“Killing the love-struck elephant is unethical, illegal, inhumane and unnecessary,” said Animal Nepal and Animal Welfare Network Nepal in a release adding that it won’t help solve the problem.

They are urging the government to call off the hunt and rectify Dhrube’s behaviour by re-socializing him and allowing him to cohabit with females. The activists are planning to continue protests till the decision to put down the pachyderm is reversed.

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