Operation to capture Belur Makhna, the elephant that trampled a man to death in Wayanad, proves futile

The Rapid Response Team members were unable to hem the animal in a suitable location and hence could not tranquillize it. On the previous day, the elephant had trampled a man to death

Updated - February 11, 2024 08:39 pm IST

Published - February 11, 2024 08:34 pm IST - KALPETTA

An irate mob blocking forest officials near Kattikulam in Wayanad district on Sunday evening demanding protection to the lives and property of residents from wildlife attack.

An irate mob blocking forest officials near Kattikulam in Wayanad district on Sunday evening demanding protection to the lives and property of residents from wildlife attack. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

An operation of the Rapid Response Team of the Forest department on Sunday to capture Belur Makhna, the tuskless wild elephant that killed a farmer at Chaligaddha in Wayanad district on Saturday, proved futile.

The forest officials launched the search around 6.30 a.m. on Sunday at Mannundi, near Kattikulam, after receiving signals from the radio collar attached to the elephant. The animal later moved to the inner forest of the Bavali section on the Kerala-Karnataka border. However, the officials could not tranquillize the elephant as they were unable to hem it in to a suitable location, sources said. “We tried to track the elephant following the radio signals, but it was not easy to dart a fast-moving animal,” sources said.

Close to 100 front-line forest workers took part in the operation with the assistance of the four trained elephants brought from the Muthanaga elephant kraal. A darting team led by forest assistant veterinary surgeon Ajesh Mohandas also took part in the operation.

Patrolling intensified

According to the signals received from the radio collar, the animal has again moved to the Mannundi forest area near Kattikulam. An irate mob blocked a group of forest officials near Kattikulam demanding that residents’ lives and properties be protected from wildlife attack. The officials have intensified round-the-clock patrolling in the area.

The mortal remains of Ajeesh of Panachaiyil, who was trampled by the elephant, were laid to rest at St. Alphons Church at Padamala in the evening. Hundreds of people came to the house of the farmer at Chaligaddha to pay their last respects.

Hartal call on Tuesday

Meanwhile, a group of farmer organisations under the aegis of the Farmers’ Relief Forum called for a dawn-to-dusk hartal in the district on Tuesday in protest against the ‘apathy’ of the government in finding a solution to the recurring man-animal conflict in the district.

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