Trained jumbos to drive away wild ones (Muthanga Kraal, India)


E. M. Manoj, The Hindu

Date Published

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Pramugha has been brought from Karnataka to the Muthanga Kraal under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Forest Department has brought a new kumki (trained) elephant from Karnataka to the Muthanga kraal under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary to drive away crop-raiding wild elephants.

Pramugha, a 34 -year-old makhana (male elephant without tusk), has been brought from the Rajeev Gandhi National Park, Nagarhole. “Though the Forest Department has four elephants, including two tamed ones and two rescued calves, at Muthanga, they are yet to be trained to drive the crop-raiding pachyderms back into the forests,” said P. Dhaneshkumar, warden-in-charge, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Karnataka Forest Department has provided the services of mahouts till the Kerala Forest Department trained its mahouts for the purpose, he said.

The State department had formed a Kumki squad with 23 officials, including a forest range officer, two veterinary surgeons and a deputy range officer, in Wayanad in 2013. But it was facing difficulties in tackling marauding elephants for want of kumki elephants, he said.

Now, armed with tranquilliser guns, net guns, night vision equipment and a lorry modified for transporting elephants, the squad could mitigate man-animal conflict in the district to a certain extent, he said.

The State has four elephant camps – Konni in Pathanamthitta, Kodanad in Ernakulam, Kottur in Thiruvananthapuram, and Muthanga in Wayanad.

Though there are 500 captive elephants in Kerala, only one tusker at Kodanad could work as a kumki. There are nearly 100 kumki elephants in Karnataka.

Karnataka has promised to donate Ranjan, a kumki tusker from Dubare elephant kraal under Madikkeri forest division, next week.

“The Karnataka Forest Department has agreed to give us four more kumki elephants,” Mr. Dhanesh said.