A rogue elephant regularly ravaging farms in forest-fringe villages of Kerala’s Wayanad district has been radio-collared by Wildlife officials to monitor its movements.
This is for the first time that a wild elephant has been fixed with a radio collar telemeter in the state, which will send signals.
Based on the signals, wildlife wardens can monitor its movement and issue warnings to villages close to forests.
The hard task of tracking down and putting the collar around the neck of the jumbo was done in view of increase in cases of human-animal conflict reported from villages close to forest in different parts of the state.
The tusker, which is about 40-years-old, has been a regular crop raider in Sulthan Bathery area of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Wildlife officials said.
The elephant was located at Arakunchi forest near Muthanga yesterday. Though it tried to evade the tracers on sensing their movement, forest officials kept their chase and brought it under control by administering tranquilizer dart.
An expert team, which followed the animal, first took the biometrical measurements of the jumbo before fixing the collar on its neck, said V K Sreevalsan, Wayanad Wildlife Warden, who led the team.
“We planned to fix radio collars on two elephants in Wayanad sanctuary in the initial phase. One is a regular crop raider and has been collared successfully. The other, a tusker, which poses threat to human life, is yet to be collared.” Sreevalsan told PTI.
“The second mostly moves around Chethalayam range near Pulpalli, which will also be tracked and fitted with radio collar soon,” he said.
The collaring will help constant monitoring of the ravaging elephants and local people could be warned about their entry into farms and habitats. The radio signals sent by the device would also be used for studying the movement pattern of elephants in general, he said.