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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 03:00 GMT 04:00 UK
Errant Indian elephants held in Bangladesh
By Waliur Rahman
BBC correspondent in Dhaka

Elephants by the river
The pair crossed into Bangladesh illegally
Two Indian elephants who crossed into Bangladesh last week have finally been captured in the south-western district of Bagerhat.

Police said a forest department team from India, along with their Bangladeshi counterpart, used tranquiliser guns to capture the two male elephants.

The 28-member Indian team, including 10 mahouts, or elephant handlers, travelled to Bangladesh on Sunday to capture the elephants. They had escaped from their forest sanctuary in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand.

Chased by the people in Murshidabad district in West Bengal state, they crossed into Bangladesh - albeit illegally - through Meherpur district last Monday.

Since then, the two wild animals have roamed around in eight districts inside Bangladesh, destroying crops before finally being captured.

But a police officer at the scene told the BBC that they were facing an arduous task in getting the unconscious animals onto the trucks from a muddy field.

"In the absence of any crane, we are using four trained elephants that were brought in by the Indian team along with them," Abdus Samad said.

The rescue operation continued overnight - and the authorities said the elephants would be sent back once they were placed in the trucks.

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