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Wild tusker pushed back into forest

Animal a regular crop raider in regions near Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

April 10, 2018 11:38 pm | Updated June 01, 2018 11:02 am IST - Staff Reporter

A wild tusker that had been causing panic among villagers in the Vadakkanadu hamlet in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) for the past many days was successfully pushed into the interior forest on Tuesday evening.

The tusker, aged about 25 years, has been identified as a regular crop raider in the Sulthan Bathery and Kurichyad forest ranges under the WWS and it had been fixed with a radio collar telemeter on March 12 after a mass protest by villagers.

By fixing the radio collar, the sanctuary officials expected that the animal could be tracked and prevented from entering human habitations. But it started to raid crops again, posing a threat to the villagers.

Hunger stir held

The villagers under the aegis of the Vadakkanad Grama Samrakshana Samiti had staged an 11-day hunger strike in front of office of the wildlife warden at Sulthan Bathery two weeks ago demanding protection to their life and property from wildlife attacks.

Later, a ministerial-level meeting held in Thiruvananthapuram promised the villagers that steps would be adopted to mitigate the issue.

Meanwhile, the pachyderm was sighted again in the area and the villagers urged a high power committee that visited the village a few days ago to recommend relocation of the animal.

The committee, led by I.C. Balakrishnan, MLA, directed the wildlife warden to adopt steps to relocate it and the issue was brought to the attention of the Chief Wildlife Warden.

While the forest officials are waiting for the final nod of the Chief Wildlife Warden to relocate it, the jumbo was successfully pushed back into the forest.

The jumbo was located around 8 a.m on Tuesday at Anapanthi forest at Vadakkanad. The forest personnel managed to push the tusker into the Chempakachola forest on the Kerala-Karnataka border, nearly 9 km away from Vadakkanad, with the assistance Pramukha and Kunju, two kumkhi elephants.

It took nearly nine hours to complete the process. A team of 30 frontline forest staff took part in the operation.

Ajay Ghosh and R. Krishna Das, Assistant Wildlife Wardens led the operation as per the direction of warden N.T. Sajan.

A. Harita and S. Salim, project officers, WWF, assisted the team.

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