Senior officer says action being taken after elephant deaths were reported
The Army has begun removing rows of sharp iron spikes cemented on the ground to keep elephants off its Narengi Cantonment in Guwahati bordering the Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary.
The Army had planted the pointed barrier especially to deter herds that would raid the supply depot and soldiers’ kitchens. Assam’s wildlife officials said the Army ignored several formal requests to remove the spikes.
A senior Army officer, declining to be quoted, said they had taken note of reports of elephant deaths to start working on removing the spikes.
Pradipta Baruah, the Divisional Forest Officer of Guwahati Wildlife Division, said bloodstains pointed to elephants getting injured after stepping on the spikes.
“At least two elephants in the sanctuary died of septicemia since December last year while others have been injured. Their legs bore signs of the outcome of the insensitive and cruel strategy to keep elephants at bay,” he told The Hindu.
Mr Baruah had written the last letter seeking removal of the spikes to a Colonel in charge of the administration of the Cantonment after the first elephant died on December 25.
Wildlife veterinarians said that the second elephant that died in February had been carrying the spike-induced infection in a leg for a long time.