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The Telegraph: Rescued Elephant Calf Returns To Herd

Jorhat, Aug. 6: An elephant calf — which got stuck in a drain inside a tea garden in Golaghat district — was rescued by forest department officials with help from workers of the tea estate, and subsequently reunited with the herd.

This incident took place at Numaligarh tea estate a few days ago when a month-old calf fell into the drain as the herd of about 40 elephants was crossing the tea estate.

An official of the tea estate said he heard at least two elephants trumpeting in desperation from a particular area of the tea estate and the rest of the herd was waiting some distance away.

“I immediately sensed something was wrong and informed the forest department. I also alerted the labourers to move away from the location,” the official said.

Soon after the arrival of forest department personnel, a team comprising forest staff and a few workers went to the location and found that the calf was stuck inside a drain and was unable to move.

“We had to act fast to save the calf and fired crackers and asked the labourers to beat drums to chase away the herd so that we could rescue the calf,” Pratap Saikia, beat officer of Numaligarh forest beat under Golaghat territorial division, said. The sound of the crackers scared off the herd, which waited at a distance. Wasting no time, the forest guards and garden workers immediately rescued the calf from the drain. The herd waited at a distance.

After examining the calf for injuries and finding none, the team left the calf where the herd could notice it.

“After waiting for a while we noticed a few elephants, led by a female, approaching the calf. They started sniffing the calf. A while later, the entire herd approached the calf and, probably reassured, they left with it,” the forest official said.

The tea garden official said elephants pass through the garden regularly and it has become a normal affair for the workers to work with elephants around. “We have instructed the workers not to disturb elephants. It is because of timely action by our workers that the calf was saved,” Vikash Joshi, general manager of Jorehaut Tea Company Limited, to which Numaligarh tea estate belongs, said.

An official of the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) said the prompt action by tea garden workers had made it possible for the calf to reunite with the herd. “Our first aim while rescuing an (elephant) calf is to reunite it with the herd. Only when the reunion is unsuccessful, the individual is admitted to CWRC for hand-rearing and long-term rehabilitation,” the CWRC official said. Till date, CWRC has assisted the forest department in reuniting 14 elephant calves with their natal herds. And seven permanently displaced calves have been hand-reared and released in the wild. Currently, six elephant calves are being hand-reared at the centre.

The Telegraph: The garden that cradles a wildlife-rich forest – Land conserved by Numalighur tea estate in Golaghat turns into a haven for wild animals

Jorhat, Aug 2: A portion of land inside a tea estate, which was conserved by the garden management for several decades, has turned into a wildlife habitat, with leopards, deer, elephants, snakes, birds, monkeys and honey-bees making the forest their home.

What is interesting is that there is no conflict between the workers of the garden and the wild animals, as workers are not allowed to venture inside the forest area. The forest area is in the midst of the garden and the animals normally do not go to the quarters of the labourers, nor roam inside the plantation, possibly because there is sufficient food within the forest.

Vikas Joshi, general manager of Numalighur tea estate in Golaghat district, which is about 40kmwest of Jorhat, told The Telegraph that the forest area is about 40 hectares, covering sections 24 and 25 in the middle of the estate. The total area of the Jorehaut Tea Company garden along National Highway 39 is 900 hectares. He said the exact reason for not carrying out cultivation in the area when the garden was set up more than 130 years ago is not known. However, about four decades ago, when the management saw wildlife activity in the area, which looked like a small forest, it decided not to disturb the animals, and therefore, did not practice cultivation.

“The management continues with the same policy, which is an example of a no-conflict zone,” Joshi said.

“Since then, the management has taken care to preserve and protect the area and prevent human entry to the said habitat. Hence animals like leopards and elephants do not move out to the labour lines,” Joshi said. “As the forest area is deep inside the garden, no outsider ventures into the habitat area,” the general manager added. He said, “Workers of the estate are not allowed to move inside the forest area and are always advised by the management not to panic or chase or tease animals inside the plantation area. They were asked to leave the particular area quietly if a wild animal was seen, and carry on with their job in another area, or if necessary, suspend the work to facilitate the animal to move out from the plantation area.”

In the last seven to eight years, only one incident of a woman labourer being injured by a leopard had occurred. Joshi said leopards not attacking cattle in the labour lines and elephants not creating havoc among the workers, were because of sufficient prey and fodder. Numaligarh forest beat officer Prabhat Saikia said, “The forest area within the estate has been well maintained by the management and the herd of jumbos of the said forest does not indulge in depredation activities in the garden.” Saikia acknowledged the presence of a good number of deer and monkeys in the habitat, on which the big cats fed upon.

Numalighur area falls under an elephant-prone zone with a number of small forests in the area and on the bordering Karbi Anglong district.

The Hindu Business Line: Duflating’s tea fetches record price

The orthodox tea produced by Duflating Tea Estate located in Jorhat district of Assam was sold at Kolkata auction on Wednesday at the record price of Rs. 6,999 a kg, the highest so far for any Assam tea.

J. Thomas & Company Private Ltd were the auctioneers. “Never before did the auction price of Assam tea exceed Rs 4,000 a kg,” said a spokesman for J. Thomas & Company.

A total of 90 kg (Invoice 24 FTGFOP Clonal Special) of Duflating orthodox were sold to Agri Import & Export Ltd. The consignment will be  airlifted to Japan for a boutique  customer, according to Mr Aditya Chokhany, Director, Agri Import & Export.

Mr C.K. Pasari, the owner of Duflating, said that the tea sold today belonged to selected clonal sections carefully hand plucked on short plucking rounds and segregated, manufactured and packed separately for producing exclusive quality for offerings in the auction.

In last two years also, the produce of Duflating was sold at a record price of Rs 5,300 and Rs 5,700 a kg, but only through private sales. “This year we decided to sell the entire produce through auction, which gives the buyers an opportunity to appreciate the quality offered,” Mr Pasari observed.

The Hindu Business Line: Langharjan estate’s tea fetches record prices

Six packages of whole leaf orthodox (Grade TGFOP1, Tippy, J Thomas list), totalling 103 kg, all produced from the Langharjan tea estate in Assam’s Naharkatiya district, were sold at a record price of Rs 2,589 a kg at Kolkata tea auctions on Wednesday, according to tea auction sources.

This is the highest price recorded this year at a Kolkata auction for the whole leaf orthodox variety. The garden belongs to Jorehaut Tea Limited, which also has three other gardens in Assam.

In Wednesday’s auction, a line of broken orthodox (Grade TGBOP Tippy, J Thomas list) totalling 135 kg, also produced by Langharjan tea estate, was sold at Rs 1,200 a kg. This was considered a good price, even though it was not a record. Two lines of CTC, both produce from the Halmari tea estate in Assam, were also sold at a higher price. Twelve bags of Grade BOP totalling 307 kg were sold at Rs 321 a kg, the highest so far this year for the CTC variety at a Kolkata auction. Another 11 bags of Grade BP totalling 303 kg were sold at Rs 302 a kg, sources added.