Seven days have passed since translocated wild elephant Chinna Thambi came out of Varagaliar forest near Top Slip. After two days trek of more than 100 km, the tusker reached the rear side of a sugar mill at Krishnapuram on Saturday, a place the elephant is halting for the last five days.
According to the Forest Department staff, who have been monitoring Chinna Thambi, the elephant often prefers to go to two places at its new habitat - a nearby sugarcane field and a swamp in which the water is said to have mixed with effluents from the mill.
A senior official with the Forest Department said that the elephant continuously taking sugarcane as a major part of its daily intake may create an addiction in the wild animal and further change its eating pattern. Also, the elephant may get attracted to the effluent from the sugarcane mill containing ethanol, fermented smell of which elephants like, he said.
“The elephant was translocated from Thadagam mainly due to crop-raiding. Having eaten sugarcane for several days, chasing the elephant to the wild will become difficult if required. If translocated again to another forest, it will try to find easy food, not the natural fodder,” said the officer.
He was also apprehensive about the mingling of kumkis with the wild elephant as latter will no longer be afraid of the tamed elephants.
When contacted, a senior veterinary surgeon of the department said that the elephant is fed green fodder and there was nothing to worry about the intake of sugarcane. “The elephant has found the place comfortable as it does not have disturbances. The animal is given fresh water in a tank,” said the veterinarian.
Elephant expert Ajay Desai, who inspected the elephant on Tuesday evening reiterated his earlier observation: “The wild elephant is exhibiting the same behaviour it had before the translocation,” said Mr. Desai, a consultant to WWF-India.
He said that chances are very less for the elephant to drink the effluent when fresh waster is available. “The elephant may spray such water to cool the body. It will not drink it when fresh water is available,” he said.