Mrunal Manmay Dash

Keonjhar: Wild boar 'Dhuda' which was taken away from its 'mother's cradle' seven days back by forest department officials in Purushottampur village under Telkoi forest range made a rather sentimental homecoming on Wednesday.

Emotions flew wild as Kuntala, Dhuda's caretaker, could not hold back her tears after finding her beloved 'pet' return after eight days of separation in the woods.

As per reports, some villagers spotted Dhuda limping in the jungle some 25 kms away from the village in Kamalang reserve forest and informed Kuntala Kumari Penthei who had brought up the boar from its infancy in the comforts of her home.

A crestfallen Kuntala and her daughter Rajashree immediately rushed to the jungle after getting information about Dhuda's whereabouts and found it limping on one leg. The estranged hungry 'pet' was immediately fed its favorite raw rice by the mother-daughter duo. After regaining  strength Dhuda started following Kuntala back home, sources said.

Thanking OTV for airing the news about Dhuda, Swosti Penthei, the son of Kuntala said, "I would like to thank OTV for Dhuda's return as people came to know about the incident and the animal's  plight after the news channel aired it. Locals informed us its whereabouts and finally we got united today."

"I want the government to make provisions for Dhuda to live along with us," demanded Swosti.

Similarly, Kuntala's daughter Subhashree could hardly hide her smile getting her Dhuda back. "Dhuda had not eaten all these days. He was weak and limping on one leg. When my mother fed him, he ate all the rice in the box and followed us home."

"Given the impunity in which poachers are hunting down wild boars, the jungle is not safe for him. I had even observed a fast on Shivratri for his safety. So I want him to stay with us with due permission of the government," she said.

However, the fact remains that keeping a Scheduled III animal which is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act is illegal and Kuntala's family knows about it. But all legalities were deemed trivial for a mother when it comes to her child. Dhuda is a classic case for the government to weigh its options carefully. The reported injury suffered by the boar suggests that the jungle is not a safe place even for a wild animal reared in human care.

The Ranger of Telkoi Forest Range said, "I know the boar has returned to its masters in the village. Appropriate steps will be taken in this connection after discussion with my superiors."

It is worthwhile to mention here that, Kuntala had brought up the wild boar from its infancy when it came running at her during the funeral of her younger daughter a year back. Since then Dhuda has been a permanent member of the household until the forest department took away the wild boar to release it in the jungle nine days ago.