Efforts on to capture Aralam rogue elephant (India)


Mohamed Nazeer, The Hindu

Date Published

In the wake of protests over the recent deaths in elephant attacks in areas near Aralam close to the forests, the Forest Department has drawn up a plan to capture a rogue elephant identified as the one involved in three deaths in the area.

The Chief Wildlife Warden has issued an order to tranquillise ‘chullikkomban’ (an elephant with short tusk) that has been identified as dangerous and to take it to the elephant training centre at the department’s Abhayaranyam ecotourism project at Kappikkad in Ernakulam.

The elephant has been identified as the one involved in three of the four elephant attack deaths in the area over the past three years, including the killing of an employee of a pineapple cultivation contractor at the Aralam Farm on April 5 and an Adivasi woman near the Aralam tribal resettlement on March 8.

Forest officials said the elephant was also involved in attacks that left two persons injured in the area during the period.

“We are planning to execute the operation to tranquillise the elephant on April 15 or 16,” Divisional Forest Officer Sunil Pameedi told The Hindu. The animal was being tracked by forest personnel, he said. “The teams will keep a watch on the animal’s movement until the tranquillisation process begins,” he added.

Normally, straying wild elephants will move to the forests if they are driven away, according to Forest Department sources here. This particular elephant, however, turns back and attacks those who try to drive it away by bursting crackers, they said, adding that it seems to have developed an instinct to attack. The resources required for tranquillising and capturing the animal include three kumki elephants, which are trained for taming newly captured wild elephants.