A lone tusker that has made the Vellore forests its home for several years entered human habitation after it lost track of its pathway. Forest department personnel drove the pachyderm into the forest after it entered Minnur in Ambur Range on Saturday.
According to officers of the department, Kavalur was the mainstay of this tusker. “It moves from Kavalur to Thirtham beat in Alangayam reserve forest. Then, it goes to Ambur RF through Bandakuppam and Vellakuttai RF, and then to Naickenari and Odugathur. This is the usual route for the animal,” a forest officer said.
However, this time, the tusker left its corridor and entered Minnur village in Ambur RF, he said, adding, “It could have lost its way, and come out from Vellakal RF, a point where the Ambur and Alangayam forest ranges join. However, personnel chased the animal back into the forest.” For forest department personnel, this tusker is not new. They are well-versed with the animal and its nature. “The tusker is not a trouble maker unless disturbed. It is very old, and has seldom caused damage to crops in the villages bordering forest areas,” another forest department officer said. The tusker’s movement is high in Alangayam and Odugathur forest ranges. “It moves from Kottavur in Arasampattu RF to Javadhu Hills. I know this tusker for 10 to 15 years, and he is mostly not a trouble maker. Even bus drivers on the Alangayam – Odugathur route are familiar with the tusker. They know how it will react. So, if they spot the tusker at a distance, they horn once, and it moves away,” he said.
But this was not the case with persons who are new to with this route. “People coming in cars or motorists get scared on seeing the animal on the road. If they sound the horn multiple times, it tends to chase them,” he said.
The officer said that the tusker remains alone and does not join any other herd. “Even if it sees a herd of elephants, it does not join them. It takes one year for the animal to get back to its starting place - Kottavur. It comes out of the forest area when it does not find water sources inside,” he noted. The tusker is also a regular visitor to the foothill at Asanampattu to raid banana and ragi crops. It returns after drinking water in the nearby lake. “We have been keeping an eye on the tusker for several years now,” he said.