Nawab Shafat Ali Khan India’s elite hunter shot an elephant late on Friday, a day before World Elephant Day.
India’s elite hunter from Hyderabad had shot a rogue elephant which had killed 15 persons in successive attacks since March.
Nawab Shafat Ali Khan said he shot the rogue elephant on Friday eve just hours after being roped in by authorities. Ironically Saturday had been the World Elephant Day.
Mr Khan had shot the elephant at close quarters point-blank, but the elephant made an instinctive last swing with its trunk, eliciting him to fire a second round.
“If our team had been hit by his trunk it could have proved to be fatal. It was risky operation,” Mr Khan said of the encounter in Sahibganj district of Jharkhand.
The lone elephant, believed to have separated from its herd, crushed four victims in Bihar in March before foraying into Jharkahand and killing 10 more.
Jharkhand’s Forest chief for wildlife conservation LR Singh told the order to kill the elephant came after a fortnight-long trial to try to tranquilize the elephant.
Mr Khan told AFP “It was quite tough task because of the dense bushes and since the animal had gone berserk and made an unexpected charge at our team I pulled the trigger by an instinct.”
A team of forest officials including and about 100 local villagers took part in the hunt, While Mr Khan had been the sole authorized to lethal measures.
Mr Khan, has previously carried out several government-authorized hunting mission, said he bewildered by the behaviour of the animal.
The zone is occupied by native Paharia tribes, one of the backward tribal communities of India.
Mr Khan said AFP. “This entire locality is inhabited by native tribal communities who have lived with wildlife in harmony for centuries, the mysterious elephant’s behavior of stalking humans puzzled the villagers.”
The huntsman had previously been roped in by the authorities in Maharastra, where he had successfully tranquilized a man-eating tiger.
“I prefer sedating animals with tranquilizers. In case that opportunity eludes and the animal poses a danger, killing is the last resort,” he told.
A human dies every day in the country in conflict with endangered animals as per the statistical estimates of the union environment ministry. Vast majority have been the victims killed by elephants.
Rising violent conflicts between elephants and humans are attributed to the decreasing forests as they are cleared for human settlements and industry experts say.