Arikompan seems to explore new habitat in Megamalai

There are only remote chances of the tusker returning to the Periyar Tiger Reserve, say experts

Updated - May 07, 2023 08:11 pm IST

Published - May 07, 2023 08:10 pm IST - IDUKKI

A view of the Megamalai hill station, near Chinnamannur, in Tamil Nadu.

A view of the Megamalai hill station, near Chinnamannur, in Tamil Nadu. | Photo Credit: JOMON PAMPAVALLEY

Wild tusker Arikompan which was translocated from Chinnakkanal to the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Idukki is still roaming the Megamalai region in Tamil Nadu.

Experts suspect that the tusker is exploring new habitats in Megamalai.

According to Tamil Nadu Forest department officials, the tusker has been camping in the Megamalai region for the past three days. According to Chinnamanur range officer T. Sivaji, the tusker is now roaming the shola forests opposite to a Siva temple near Megamalai.

“The Tamil Nadu Forest department team sighted the tusker around 3 p.m. on Sunday opposite to the temple. The tusker is healthy and eating food. The ban on entry of tourists to the Megamalai hill station will continue. We also imposed some restrictions on the travel of local people in Megamalai,” said Mr. Sivaji.

Elephant expert and Kerala High Court-appointed expert committee member P.S. Essa told The Hindu that the tusker might be exploring a new habitat at Megamalai. “Translocated wild elephants try to explore new habitats. Wild elephants normally keep moving from one place to another,” said Mr. Essa.

Similar habitat

According to sources, there are only remote chances of the tusker returning to the PTR. “The continued camping of the tusker in Megamalai indicates that it is finding a new habitat there. The shola forests and tea plantations there resemble the Chinnakkanal habitat,” said the source.

According to signals received by the Kerala forest department from the satellite radio collar, the tusker is now camping in the Megamalai reserve area. “As per the satellite signal, the tusker is now roaming 8 km away from the Periyar border and 5 km from the Megamalai reserve,” said a senior Forest department official.

‘Details not given’

Tamil Nadu Forest department officials complained that the Kerala Forest department did not provide them timely location details of the tusker. “If we get timely details, it will help in easy monitoring of the tusker,” said a T.N. official.

Meanwhile, wild elephants attacked a hut at Sinkukandam, near Chinnakkanal, on Sunday morning. According to local residents, the elephants attacked the hut of Anthoniraj around 4 a.m. The family was in Tamil Nadu at the time of the attack. They said the hut was destroyed in the attack.

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