Elephant Kusha retraces its path to Nagarahole

Kusha, the elephant from Dubare camp released into the wild following intervention by animal rights activists, is back in Nagarahole.

He was released at Moolehole in Bandipur Tiger Reserve, a distance – as the crow flies - of about 100 km from Dubare in the first week of June after being radio collared to keep a track of his movement.

“His movement was being monitored by the Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun on a real time basis and it has been confirmed that he is now in the Nagarahole National Park limits’’, said Mahesh Kumar, Director, Nagarahole National Park.

The wild elephant was first captured near Chettahalli in Madikeri Forest Division more than 5 years ago and put in a kraal in Dubare. The reason for the elephant’s capture was its frequent foray into human landscape escalating man-animal conflict in the region.

The officials at Dubare said once tamed, Kusha remained obedient and adapted well with other elephants in the camp. But within an year or so Kusha declared his freedom by escaping from the camp. “No matter how hard the officials tried to track and re-capture Kusha, he gave them the slip and remained free for almost 2 years’’, according to officials.

But he was recaptured from the wild and brought back to Dubare and this was opposed by activists and Ms.Maneka Gandhi who called for its release on the grounds that it had not harmed anyone. The then Forest Minister Aravind Limbavali ordered Kusha’s freedom and the elephant was released from the camp to roam free in the wild.

But after less than six months, the elephant is in Nagarahole very close to Dubare. “Now that he is in our jurisdiction I will talk to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) as to the next course of action even as his movement will continue to be monitored’’, said Mr. Mahesh Kumar.

But wildlife activists said Kusha hasn’t harmed anyone and hence there was no point in its recapture. Besides, it is not new for elephants to trace their way back in the jungles as they are migratory by nature. Many of the elephants that can be identified by the scar marks on their face or body tend to return to Kabini backwaters every summer after an year of wandering. In case of Kusha its movement is being monitored and hence the interest, said the activists.

“His return to Nagarahole forests is not an area of concern. But it becomes a tricky situation in case Kusha ventures to Chettihalli again from where he was first captured’’, the activist added.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 11:29:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/elephant-kusha-retraces-its-path-to-nagarahole/article37824585.ece

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