A 47-year-old elephant that went missing two months ago was found on Wednesday. The disappearance of the elephant [which sounds bizarre by itself] triggered a nationwide alert.
Delhi Police “detained” the jumbo, Laxmi, along with its mahout, Saddam, from the Yamuna Pusta area in the national capital around 3 am.
“We had launched a search operation on Tuesday to locate the elephant. Three teams comprising around 12 officials combed the areas along the banks of the Yamuna river and the Uttar Pradesh-Delhi border. We increased patrolling in the Yamuna Pusta area as we suspected the elephant was being kept somewhere there. The Shakarpur police detained the mahout and the elephant early in the morning and informed us,” an official said.
Forest officials said Laxmi, the elephant was safe. It is now being sent to a rehabilitation centre in Haryana.
The department also alerted the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau as it suspected that the elephant could have been taken to Nepal.
However, finally the mahout and the elephant were found around 100 meters away from the office of the Delhi Commissioner of Police.
Over the past two months, there were several sightings of this elephant in the city but there was no-steadfast measures on ground by officials to find and rescue the mammal.
The jumbo actually belongs to a family in Shakarpur. Since, the owner could not make proper arrangements for housing, maintenance and upkeep of the pachyderm, the forest department had issued a seizure notice in February this year.
The owner, Yusuf Ali, moved to the Delhi High Court who ruled that the forest department can seize the elephant only when “necessary arrangements for its transfer to the new site have been finalised”.