Rogue elephant captured in Wayanad (India)


The Hindu

Date Published

The Forest and Wildlife Department on Tuesday captured a wild elephant that had spread terror among villagers in Kallur and Muthanga in Wayanad district for the past many years.

The tusker was captured from the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) and shifted to a temporary kraal set up at Muthanga.

Minister for Forest K. Raju had directed the officials a week ago to capture the tusker after it had attacked a farmer at Kallur.

A contingent of Forest officials, veterinary doctors, tranquillizer experts, trackers and kumki (trained) elephants were employed at the WWS to capture the elephant, known among villagers as ‘Bharatan SI’.’

The operation began at 5 a.m. with the help of four kumki elephants, including two kumkis brought from the adjacent Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in Tamil Nadu, P. Dhaneshkumar who supervised the operation, told The Hindu.

The team located the animal in the Arupathiyezhu forest, near Kallur, at 5. 30 a.m. Soon after, Arun Zachariah , a veterinary expert, administered it the first dose of tranquillizer dart followed by a mild dose later .

When the pachyderm started to show symptoms of sedation, after the final shot, the kumki elephants, including Vijay of MTR and Kunju of WWS, led ‘Bharathan SI’ to the mobile ambulance of the Department parked near the forest around 8.30 a.m. Mudumalai and Pramugha, two kumki elephants, assisted them.

The tusker was reported to be a regular crop raider and it had tried to attack many Forest officials and villagers in the past. Though the Forest personnel had attached a radio collar on it two yeas ago, it got lost apparently in a fight between elephants. Later, the officials tried to drive it back to forest with the help of ‘kumki’ (trained) elephants after attaching a new radio collar, but in vain. A similar operation was carried out at Muthanga in 1994 to shift an unruly elephant to the kraal, but it was a failure.

‘The Department is yet to decide either the elephant to be released to forest after monitoring its health conditions or to retain it as a kumki elephant after trained it, a top brass of the Forest Department said.