Killer tusker captured, to be sent to Tirupati zoo (Chittoor district, India)


The Hindu

Date Published


See link for photo of tusker.

After a week-long ‘Operation Gaja’, Forest officials in Chittoor district on Saturday evening captured the wild elephant in the foothills of the Addagutta Hill of Ramasamudram mandal, 20 km from Punganur.

The male elephant had strayed into the villages of the mandal after getting separated from its herd in the Kolar forests of Karnataka. On Sunday last (September 25), the animal trampled a 70-year-old farmer to death at Oolapadu village and terrorised the people, before climbing up the hill.

Divisional Forest Officer (Chittoor West) T. Chakrapani supervised the operation for a week, deploying two ‘kumkis’ and forest personnel from Kuppam, Palamaner, Madanapalle and Chittoor ranges.

The animal kept climbing down the hill in the early hours, and after grazing at the foothills would return to the hilltop, giving a tough time to the tranquillising party.

In view of the elephant lingering most time on the hilltop or on the slopes, the darting team stayed away from its operation to avoid the animal suffering a fall downhill.

In the early hours of Friday, the elephant charged at the two trained elephants and their mahout, before retreating to the hilltop. The same day close to midnight, it was hit thrice with tranquillisers, when it was grazing on the foothills. By noon on Saturday, the two trained elephants could bring the ferocious tusker into their control. The officials chained the killer elephant by 3 p.m.

Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Chakrapani said the animal would be shifted to S.V. Zoo Park in Tirupati, and would remain there for the rest of its life.

The decision to send it back to the Karnataka forests was shelved in view of the elephant’s acclimatisation with human habitations and considering its separation from its herd.