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After around two decades, the Forest and Wildlife Department is preparing to train a wild elephant at the Muthanga kraal under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WSS).
“The work on a temporary kraal at Muthanga, at a cost of Rs.1.4 lakh, has been completed to train an unruly tusker which has been posing a serious threat to public at Kallur and Muthanga in the district,” P. Dhaneshkumar, Warden, WSS, told The Hindu .
The animal had attacked a farmer on Tuesday, following which Forest Minister K. Raju directed the officials to catch the elephant and shift it to the new kraal.
The kraal is constructed with eucalyptus wood under the supervision of experts from the adjacent Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in Tamil Nadu.
MTR to help
The department has also asked the MTR authorities to provide the services of trained mahouts and ‘kumki’ (trained) elephants to train the newcomer.
Mr. Dhaneshkumar said the elephant, known among villagers as Bharatan SI, was a regular crop raider and it had tried to attack many forest officials and villagers in the past.
When the animal started to create panic among villagers in the area two years ago, the Forest personnel attached a radio collar on it but, it got lost apparently in a fight between elephants, he said.
They tranquilised the elephant and attached a new radio collar a few weeks ago. Later, the officials tried to drive it back to forest with the help of ‘kumki’ (trained) elephants, but in vain.
“We are planning to shift the animal to the kraal after capturing it by applying tranquiliser dart,” says Arun Zachariah, a veterinary expert leading the tracking operation.
The operation to track the animal will begin on Monday, he added.
A similar operation was carried out at Muthanga in 1994 to shift an unruly elephant to the kraal, but it was a failure.