The lone tusker - Arikomban has moved inside the Megamalai reserve forest area and the pachyderm is being closely watched by a team of officials and ground staff from the forest department, with the support of personnel from the police, fire and revenue departments, said the Tamil Nadu Forest Minister M. Mathiventhan here on Sunday, May 28, 2023.
Speaking to media persons, he said that the task of capturing the elephant has been a big challenge. “We have to ensure that the elephant is unharmed and also in the process, people living in the habitations do not suffer,” he said.
During the last three days, the elephant has been roaming in Cumbum valley. Sometimes, due to panic caused by the people, it may have got irritated and entered habitations.
For instance, the use of a drone camera in Cumbum town by a YouTuber had apparently irked the pachyderm. Similarly, when it entered a private farm, the workers had set fire to the dry leaves, which again made it move away.
Now, with the help of the radio collar, the officials have sighted the elephant inside the Megamalai Reserve Forest, he said and explained that the movement could be monitored when the radio collar was active or when it moved within the signal area.
To a query, he said three kumkhis have arrived. In the event of the pachyderm again moving inside the human habitation, the officials would examine the situation and if ideal, the pachyderm would be tranquilized and taken into deep forest area. There are five medical teams led by Dr. Kalaivanan, Vijayaraghavan and Prakash and others.
The Minister clarified that sometimes such trespass by wild animals happens for reasons such as insufficient water or fodder in the forest. The situation can be handled smoothly with public cooperation. The 35-yr-old male pachyderm, which weighs about 5.5 tons and 11 ft long cannot be handled carelessly, he reiterated.
The officials said that the prohibitory orders imposed in Cumbum Municipal limits would continue to be in force as a precautionary measure.