Two Kumki elephants deployed in Marayur (Idukki District, India) 


Giji K. Raman, The Hindu

Date Published

Two Kumki elephants (captive and trained jumbos), Kali and Venkitesh, from the Wayanad elephant squad were brought here on Friday night to drive away wild elephants that entered human-inhabited areas in Marayur.

The elephants reached the Kanthallur station of the Marayur forest division on Friday night. They were brought to the settlement following a public outcry against raids by wild elephants, destroying crops and damaging houses. A blind woman was killed at Kundakad by a wild elephant a few days back.

A Forest Department official said the Kumki elephants would be kept in the settlement for a few months till it was ensured that the wild elephants do not return to the human-inhabited areas. Farmers had complained that elephant herds often stay in the area for days completely destroying crops and posing threat to human life. 

The services of the Kumki elephants would be available in other areas where similar incidents are reported. It is on a priority basis that they were put to work first in Kundakad and Edakadavu areas.

The Forest Department also plans to install microchips on elephants that raid the buffer zone areas. Banana and jackfruit cultivation in areas near the forest is one of the reasons for elephants staying there for long periods. 

A Forest Department official said man-animal can be reduced by giving prior information to the residents about the presence of elephants.

It is often difficult for those travelling at night to sense the presence of wild elephants. Many beneficiaries who were allotted land under various schemes for houseless people in Chinnakanal village in Munnar and Marayur in Devikulam taluk had abandoned their houses out of fear of attack by wild elephants.

At Anayirankal Dam, the Forest Department had submitted a report to the government stating that the increased instances of wild elephant attack were reported after the Hydel Tourism Department started boat services there. 

The dam area was limited unlike the other dams in the district and this was an area where wild elephants constantly come for drinking water. 
The presence of oil in the waters too might have adversely affected them as elephants are known to drink pure water. Disturbances in the elephant habitat would make them turn violent, the report said.