Meet Maniyan, the Friendly Tusker of Wayanad (India)


Sneha Mary Koshy, NDTV

Date Published
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IRULAM, KERALA:  The sight of a wild elephant can send chills down spine.

But Maniyan is no ordinary tusker. The 30-year-old shares a special bond with the residents of Irulam village in Kerala’s Wayanad district.
For past five years, Maniyan has been living in the nearby forest close to the village.
The villagers have grown fond of the elephant and often feed the tusker.
The unique bond is clearly evident. So much so that as they shout out for him, Maniyan strolls over to them from the forests, ready to eat the fruits they have to offer.
“Maniyan doesn’t trouble anyone. Look at these people feeding the elephant. He actually enjoys it,” said a resident K Babu.
His friend Ranjith Kumar adds, “This elephant is always around and doesn’t go into the deep forests.”
The villagers have cared for Maniyan like their own. They even alerted forest officials twice when Maniyan was injured.
Despite many hurdles, the elephant has stayed with the villagers. Nishad Murali, an autorickshaw driver says, “Maniyan lives with us happily and is much loved. This village wouldn’t be the same without him.”
Kerala has four elephant reserves – Wayanad, Periyar, Nilambur and Anamudi. The state’s wild elephant population is around 7000. But poaching is also rampant. Reports say around 40 elephants have been killed in the last two years.