‘Bharatan SI’ to head for forest (Palakkad, India)


E.M. Manoj, The Hindu

Date Published

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The Forest and Wildlife Department has finally decided to translocate a tusker, which has been kept at a temporary elephant kraal at Muthanga in Wayanad district for the past two months, to the Parambikulam forests in Palakkad district.

Additional Chief Secretary (Forest) P. Marapandyan directed Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary authorities on Thursday to release the elephant to Parambikulam at once. The animal, aged nearly 27 years, was tranquilised and captured on November 21, as per the direction of Forest Minister K. Raju, when it attacked a farmer at his field at Kallur a few months ago.

The elephant, known among villagers as ‘Bharatan SI’ and ‘Kallur Komban,’ was reported to be a regular crop raider and it had tried to attack many forest officials and villagers in the past.

Though forest personnel had attached a radio collar on it two yeas ago, it went missing apparently in a fight between elephants. Later, the officials tried to drive it back to the forest with the help of ‘kumki’ (trained) elephants after attaching a new radio collar but in vain.

Environmentalists in the State had opposed the move to keep the jumbo at the kraal, demanding that the animal be released to the forest.

A seven-member team, led by Amit Mallik , field director, Project Tiger, Kottayam, visited the Kraal on December 7 to explore various possibilities such as translocating the animal to another habitat, releasing it to its own habitat, and keeping it at the kraal itself.

But a majority of the team members did not favour releasing the elephant to its own habitat as it was branded as a regular crop-raider. P. Dhaneshkumar, warden, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, told The Hindu that they were adopting steps to release the elephant to the Parambikulam forests in a few days.