Kerala will soon receive five ‘kumki’ elephants from neighbouring Karnataka to form an elephant squad to restrain rogue and invading jumbos in forest-fringe areas.
‘Kumki’ elephants are domesticated and trained captive pachyderms, used to keep stray wild jumbos under control.
A team of Kerala Forest Department officials recently visited an elephant camp at Rampur, located under Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and examined the domesticated jumbos there as part of the plan, sources said.
“The Kerala government has already issued orders to form the elephant squad. We expect to get the service of five kumki jumbos from Karnataka for our proposed elephant squad. Karnataka has given us an assuarance in this regard,” department sources told PTI.
“Besides Rampur camp, some more elephant camps may be visited soon to monitor the activities of kumki jumbos. We hope that we can soon bring them to Kerala,” they said.
A forest range officer had already been appointed for the proposed elephant squad, the sources added.
The first such squad would be formed at the sprawling Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary in upland district Wayanad, which frequently witnesses a large number of incidents of elephant herds straying into human settlements and destroying crops.
The kumki jumbos would be used for a range of activities, including to restrain wild jumbos entering into human settlements and send them back them to forests.
Elephant squad is one of the measures initiated by the state government to keep forest fringe areas from wild jumbo menace.