Elephant released in Mudumalai reported to be acclimatizing to new surroundings

The tusker that was translocated from Dharmapuri to MTR recently.  

An elephant that was captured from Dharmapuri and translocated to the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) is reported to be settling well to its new surroundings, and is believed to have been accepted into a herd of elephants inhabiting the region, forest officials said.

Recent translocation efforts of elephants that have been released in the Sigur plateau have led to mixed results, with one elephant being recaptured in neighbouring Karnataka and made a captive animal, while another elephant died after its release in 2020. Another elephant, Vinayagan, from Coimbatore, is said to be doing well.

The most recent effort, to release the animal, said to be around 13-15 years of age in the MTR buffer zone was met with stiff resistance from local residents, who had opposed the move on grounds that the animal had been responsible for the deaths of two persons in Dharmapuri. However, forest officials said that the deaths were accidental and that the elephant was not known to be overly aggressive towards humans.

Teams had been formed to monitor the elephant to ensure that it doesn’t enter human habitations. Forest officials said that the period of acclimatization seemed to be going well, with the elephant last seen in Kallampalayam, near Thengumarahada.

L.C.S. Srikanth, Deputy Director (Buffer Zone) of MTR, said that forest staff had last seen the animal with a herd of other elephants. “This is a promising sign, and will hopefully ensure that it acclimatizes to its new surroundings, and also stays away from human habitations,” said Mr. Srikanth.

S. Murali, Forest Range Officer, Segur Range, said that there were three nearby anti-poaching watcher camps in the region, and added that forest staff had last seen the herd move into neighbouring Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve. “We have also directed the staff to keep a lookout for the elephant and see how it is coping with the new group,” he said.

“If the herd accepts the elephant, it could also ensure that the herd keeps it in check, and modifies its behaviour, which we hope will ensure that it doesn’t have any more problematic interactions with humans,” said a forest official.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 7:15:28 PM |

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