Tusker Arikompan released in Periyar Tiger Reserve

Forest department receives over 11 signals from satellite radio collar on tusker

April 30, 2023 08:35 pm | Updated 09:44 pm IST - IDUKKI

Wild elephants camping near the area where tusker Arikompan was darted at Vilakk, near Chinnakkanal, in Idukki on Sunday.

Wild elephants camping near the area where tusker Arikompan was darted at Vilakk, near Chinnakkanal, in Idukki on Sunday. | Photo Credit: JOMON PAMPAVALLEY

After efforts lasting several hours, the wild tusker, locally called Arikompan, was successfully translocated to an area near Seeniyaroda under the Mullakkudy forest section under the Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Thekkady early on Sunday.

According to High Range Circle Chief Conservator of Forests, Arun R.S., the tusker was released inside the forest around 5 a.m. “After the release, the Forest department received over 11 signals from the satellite radio collar fixed on the tusker. The tusker is roaming a 3-km radius in the Seeniyaroda area,” said Mr. Arun.

“The wounds on the animal will not have a harmful effect. The Forest department will closely monitor the movements of the tusker,” said Mr. Arun.

Kottayam Divisional Forest Officer N. Rajesh said that the veterinarian provided an antidote to help the elephant get back from tranquilisation. “After it was released, the tusker slowly moved inside the forest,” said Mr. Rajesh.

Herd at darting area

On Sunday morning, a herd of 12 wild elephants, including calves, camped near the area where Arikompan was darted. “The herd reached the spot around midnight and residents heard the sound of the wild elephants in the area from midnight. We suspect the elephants reached the spot in search of Arikompan,“ said a resident.

The darting area near Vilakk in Chinnakkanal turned a tourist destination on Sunday. A large number of tourists visited the spot and took selfies and photos from the darting point.

After the successful mission, the kumki (trained elephants ) were shifted to the 301 Colony area on Saturday evening. “The kumki elephants will be taken back to the Muthanga elephant camp within two days,” said a Forest department official.

Meanwhile, the tribespeople in the PTR in Thekkady provided a warm welcome to Arikompan. The tribal people from Mannakkudy and Paliyakkudy in the PTR welcomed the tusker with special pujas. Tribespeople said that as per their tradition, the arrival of animals was observed with special pujas and offerings.

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