Despite elephant-mounted team, motion sensor cameras, Goa's rogue bison still elusive

Apr 05, 2017, 17:14 IST | IANS


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Panaji: From an elephant-mounted search team to motion sensor cameras rigged up along remote game-trails, Goa's forest department over the last few days, has been aggressively scouting for a rogue bison, who on March 31 gored 54-year-old farmer to death in the remote Dharbandora region in South Goa.

The bison, according to the post-mortem report, is believed to have gored Yeno Solienkar in his stomach with his horns and trampled the injured farmer while he was pruning and watering his banana and cashew plantation, on Friday evening, before he eventually succumbed to his injuries later that night.

Speaking to IANS on Monday, Deputy Conservator of Forests Kuldeep Sharma said that full-scale efforts were being undertaken by the forest department to track down the Great Indian bison, locally known as gaur, which is incidentally Goa's state animal and the official mascot of FC Goa, the Indian Super League team, which operates from the coastal state.

"We are using modern technology to track the bison down. All efforts are being undertaken," Sharma said.

As part of the forest department's search operation, half-a-dozen motion sensor cameras are being set up along game trails in the Shivdem village in Dharbandora sub-district, with forest rangers hoping that the rogue beast will set at least one of them off, allowing them to get a fix on its latest location and its travel pattern.

Bisons, some of whom often weigh nearly a tonne on maturity, amble over several kilometers of terrain in a single day. While bisons are often spotted near human settlements in remote forested regions of the state, the death of Solienkar is considered to be the first fatal skirmish involving the species in Goa's rural areas which are a part of the Western Ghat forest range.

A team of more than 20 forest department personnel are now on the trail of the rogue bison, with officials even roping in a pachyderm in the search operation.

The elephant-mounted team has been assigned to scout for the bison along non-motorable routes in the forests, especially areas, which bisons are traditionally known to frequent.

"If we spot the bison, the plan is to shepherd the animal to an area where we can safely trap it and tranquilise it so that it can be captured. We are also looking out for hoof marks near water bodies and their droppings for leads. Forest dwellers are also being asked to help to track down the location of the rogue," a forest official who is a part of the elephant search team said.

Sharma said that the elephant team is scouring through forests everyday, looking for signs about the bison's whereabouts. "We should be able to catch him soon," Sharma said.

Last year, Forest Minister Ramesh Tawadkar had said that wild animals like bisons, wild boars and monkeys and the peacock should be declared vermin because of the damage they cause to crops in forested areas.

Tawadkar was later forced to discard the bison and the peacock from the proposed list of vermin, following outrage and criticism of his plans.

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