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Elephant deaths: Jairam wants action
GUWAHATI, OCT 20 (AGENCIES):
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Published on 20 Oct. 2010 11:20 PM IST
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Following the report on elephant deaths in tea gardens on the fringes of Kaziranga National Park, an anguished Jairam Ramesh, the Union Minister of Forest and Environment has sent a letter to the Chief Minister of Assam asking for stringent action against those responsible for the alleged poisoning.
Last week NDTV had reported on four elephant carcasses found in three locations on the fringes of Kaziranga. Two were found dead in Diffolo Tea Estate, one near Methoni garden and another in adjacent elephant reserve of Karbi Anglong.
Tea gardens are known to use pesticides and weedicides which can be harmful for wild animals. An enquiry is being conducted on the exact nature of death.
Though the Garden authorities claim that they have been using only approved chemicals accumulated concentration of pesticides can be extremely toxic. NDTV has now been told by some of the garden staff that Thimet, a pesticide, may have been used at Diffolo Tea Estate.
“Most of the tea gardens are located in elephant reserves. The present incident also happened in an elephant reserve. Sometimes they are very callous in disposing off weedicides and insecticides .They just throw away. And they are accumulated in some waterholes and the elephant herd come at night and drink that water and get poisoned,” said Dr Kushal Sharma, International Elephant Expert.
The worst tragedy of elephant poisoning was in Nameri in 2001 when villagers laced country liquor with a pesticide Demicron and killed 22 elephants. But the accountability must be fixed with the forest department which is responsible for the loss of wildlife habitat by allowing encroachments and allegedly conniving with timber mafias still very active across the state.

 
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