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Lost elephant shot with tranquiliser

Forestry officials tranquilise a stray elephant wandering near a village in Yangon Region in this 22 October 2016 file photo. (Photo: DVB)

A wild elephant that got lost from its herd and wandered into a village was shot with a tranquiliser gun on Saturday by the Forestry Department in Rangoon’s Taikkyi Township.

Officers from the Forestry Department had been tracking the elephant since 19 October when it strayed from its parade in the southern part of the Pegu mountain range and began wandering toward residential areas. The pachyderm was spotted on 22 October in a field next to the village of Yekangon. They shot it with a tranquiliser dart, said the Myaing Hay Wun Elephant Camp chief mahout Maung Maung Che.

“We have been tracking this elephant with three tamed elephants since 19 October. Then we heard it had ventured into some villages,” he said. “We warned locals not to get too close to it or take photos.”

“It was eating from paddy farms and drinking and bathing in fish ponds, which scared the locals. We tranquilised it to ensure public safety.”

Locals in Taikkyi said it is common for wild elephants – whether alone or in herds – to roam around villages on the edge of the Pegu range during the harvest in monsoon season and the sugarcane-growing season in summer. But they have been known to run amok and kill people.

Burma has an estimated 2,000 elephants in the wild, the majority roaming in Pegu, Rangoon and Irrawaddy divisions.