Kerala

Forest staff in hot pursuit of crop-raider tusker

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Elephant which had allegedly killed a tribal boy reappears after seven months, with two friends in tow

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) officials are hot on the heels of a tusker that had vanished after trampling to death a tribal boy in May this year.

Three days ago, the tusker, aged about 25 years, known among villagers as Vadakkanad Komban, reappeared near a human habitation at Parakolly forest area under the Kurichyad forest range. He brought with him two more tuskers.

Regular offender

The jumbo, a regular crop-raider in the Sulthan Bathery and Kurichyad ranges under the sanctuary, was fixed with a radio collar telemeter on March 12, 2017, after a protest by the villagers.

In May 30 this year, when he killed a tribal boy, the forest personnel decided to tranquillise and translocate him. Though the officials constructed a kraal at Muthanga for the purpose, all efforts went in vain after he left for the adjacent Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) in Karnataka the next day. Another elephant is housed in that kraal now.

Kraal being built

Vadakkanad Komban entered a human habitat at Panayambalam in Vadakkanad three days ago. The forest personnel chased it back to the forest after they received a radio signal from its collar, since an immediate capture was out of question.

“A kraal is being constructed at the Muthanga elephant camp to translocate him,” N.T. Sajan, Wildlife Warden, told The Hindu.

Also, they need the services of trained elephants, kumkis, to capture him. The sanctuary officials have requested their counterparts in Mudumalai and Bandipur tiger reserves to provide two kumkis to assist the operation as the kumkis under the sanctuary are in ‘musth’.

“The elephant is now in the Kallettu Moolakkolly forest area in Kurichyad forest range and we are closely monitoring its movements,” Mr. Sajan said. The signals from the radio collar revealed that the jumbo reached here from the Hunasur forest area under the BTR, he added.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 7:48:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/forest-staff-in-hot-pursuit-of-crop-raider-tusker/article25844381.ece

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