Arikompan is partially blind, says Kerala Forest dept. report

After remaining out of range for nearly a day, the translocated wild elephant was traced to Mavadi in Periyar Tiger Reserve. Teams constituted to find the elephant physically

May 03, 2023 08:11 pm | Updated 09:17 pm IST - IDUKKI

Tusker Arikompan after the darting at Chinnakkanal on Saturday. Jomon Pampavalley.

Tusker Arikompan after the darting at Chinnakkanal on Saturday. Jomon Pampavalley. | Photo Credit: Jomon Pampavalley

A report by the Forest department has stated that wild elephant Arikompan is partially blind.

“It was found that the right eye was partially blind. The elephant had a two-day-old injury on the lower front portion of the trunk, which was treated. It was fit to be released into the wild,” said the report by High Range Circle Chief Conservator of Forests Arun R.S.

“Two days before the capture, Arikompan fought with another wild elephant Chakkakompan, which resulted in the injuries. A health check-up was done and medicines, including antibiotics, were given,” said a Forest department official.

Meanwhile, the elephant that was translocated from Chinnakkanal to the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) has been traced again after its radio collar remained out of range for almost 24 hours. According to Forest department officials, the tusker is roaming at Mavadi inside the PTR. “The animal was under a thick canopy and the signals got cut off on Tuesday. The last signal was received from Mavadi at 1.30 p.m. on Wednesday,” said the official. Department officials said three teams consisting of four members each had been constituted to trace the elephant physically.

According to Forest department officials, within three days the tusker roamed around 20 kilometres within the Kerala and Tamil Nadu border forests. On Monday, it moved to Vannathippara in Tamil Nadu and returned to the Kerala forests.

Meanwhile, experts said there was a remote chance of the tusker returning to Chinnakkanal. Elephant expert and High Court-appointed expert committee member P.S. Essa said there was a history of elephants returning to their homeland after translocation.

“But there are human habitations between the PTR and Chinnakkanal and the topography of the areas could prove to be another hurdle. In case the tusker tries to return Chinnakkanal the radio collar would provide timely updates and the Forest department would be able to take action,” said Dr. Essa.

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