A youth in Angul’s Banarpal block was arrested by the forest department on Wednesday under the Wildlife Protection Act for teasing a wild elephant by pulling its tail.
The accused has been identified as Dilip Sahu of Kulad area in Angul.
The incident took place on Sunday when the elephant was moving close to a forest area near Kulad and was chased by locals including Sahu.
Sahu allegedly pulled the tail of the tusker enraging it and prompting it to chase the crowd. The video of the entire episode went viral on social media. Based on the evidence, forest officials booked him under Section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act and arrested him.
As per experts, Sahu’s act could have enraged the elephant further and could potentially result in the tusker mauling him down or destroying property in the village.
“These kinds of incidents have risen in Odisha in recent years. Recently a similar case came to the fore when some youths in Athagarh area put a bet among themselves on who would be able to pass under the belly of a wild elephant. It was outright stupid and dangerous, so as pulling the tail,” said wildlife expert Biswajit Mohanty.
“People are doing these kinds of things to get some likes on social media. But they should know, they are endangering their lives as well," he added.
Earlier, IFS officer Susanta Nanda had shared the video of the incident and announced that anyone providing information about the accused would be rewarded. Later, he informed that the accused has been arrested.
It is pertinent to mention here that teasing and harassing wild animals is an offense and punishable under the law. In fact, there is a provision of punishment of three to seven years for such crimes under the Wildlife Protection Act.