Plan to translocate tusker dropped (Tamil Nadu, India)


Times of India

Date Published
T’puram/Kozhikode: The state government has dropped the plan to release a problem tusker captured by the forest officials from Wayanad into Parambikkulam forest area, owing to protests from the local residents.

The elephant named Kallur Komban, which is also known as Bharathan SI, was captured by the forest officials in November 2016 following reports that it had destroyed crops and tried to attack forest officials. Forest minister K Raju ordered the capture of elephant.

Since then the elephant has been kept at a temporary elephant kraal at Muthanga. The additional chief secretary, forests and wildlife, P Marapandiyan had last week issued the order to translocate the elephant to Parambikkulam tiger reserve.

Protests broke out at Parambikkulam on Sunday after additional chief secretary directed the divisional forest officer (DFO), Palakkad to shift the elephant and release it to Parambikkulam reserve forest. Local residents numbering hundreds led by Nenmara MLA K Babu and panchayat members staged a sit in at DFO office against the decision. “There are tribal settlements housing over 3,000 people near the forest area. Once the tusker is released into forests, their lives would be under threat,” said Parambikkulam ward member M Sreedharan. People had blocked the road at Nenmara, Kollenkode and other places and threatened to forcibly stop the vehicle carrying the elephant.

Meanwhile, WWS authorities had tranquilized the elephant and fixed a radio collar on the tusker. Later it was taken on board a truck with the help of a kumki elephant. Seven vehicles were to accompany the truck carrying the elephant and arrangements were made to videograph the proceedings. However, just minutes before the convoy was to start Marapandyan telephoned chief conservator of forests (wildlife) Pramod G Krishnan and directed to stop the procedures. Officials associated with the office of minister for forests K Raju also confirmed that the elephant would not be moved to Parambikkulam.

Many conservationists, meanwhile, said that the decision to translocate the elephant was unscientific. “The move was fraught with serious risks and could have posed threat to the life of the elephant. Transporting a tranquilized wild elephant in a lorry over a distance of 300 km, that too at the peak of summer, is cruelty. The public protests and threats to block the vehicle further aggravated the danger,” said N Badusha, president of Wayanad Prakrithi Samrakshana Samithi.