Trial run to dart tusker Arikompan to be held at Chinnakkanal on Thursday

Forest dept. plans to tranquillise wild tusker on Saturday

Updated - March 20, 2023 09:21 pm IST

Published - March 20, 2023 07:26 pm IST - IDUKKI

Vikram, a kumki elephant, which reached Chinnakkanal in Idukki on Monday as part of the darting operation of Arikompan.

Vikram, a kumki elephant, which reached Chinnakkanal in Idukki on Monday as part of the darting operation of Arikompan. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The Forest department will conduct a trial run of the darting of a wild tusker, locally known as Arikompan, at Chinnakkanal, near Munnar, in Idukki. Department officials said the operation will be held on Thursday.

A senior department official said it has been decided to tranquillise the tusker on Saturday. “If the operation fails on Saturday, another one will be conducted on Sunday. If the tusker cannot be relocated, it will be radio-collared. A high-level meeting will be held at Munnar on Tuesday to form a final plan for the darting operation, said the official. Idukki District Collector Sheeba George and other higher officials will attend the meeting.

Meanwhile, Vikram, one of the four kumki elephants selected for the operation to dart Arikompan, reached Cement Palam, near Chinnakkanal, on Monday morning from the Muthanga elephant camp. “The other three kumki elephants – Surya, Kunju, and Surendran – will reach Chinnakkanal in two days,” said the official.

Meanwhile, Arikompan was found to be camping at Sankarapandi Mettu near Santhanpara. “For the darting operation, the tusker needs to reach Cement Palam from Sankarapandi Mettu, crossing the Kochi-Dhanushkodi national highway and the Anayirankal dam. The tusker has a habit of swimming across the dam and reaching Cement Palam near 301 Colony. We hope it reaches the planned location soon,” said an official.

The Forest department has set up a makeshift ration shop at Cement Palam to lure the tusker.

Chief Wildlife Warden Ganga Singh issued an order on February 21 for tranquillising Arikompan at Chinnakkanal. The order said the elephant could be captured and radio-collared or relocated. The initial plan was to release the tusker in the deep forests of the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) at Thekkady.

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