Elephant Rivaldo released into the wild
The move came after recommendations from an expert committee; the radio-collared elephant was released into an interior area of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve
The wild elephant, Rivaldo, who has been in captivity for around three months in the buffer zone of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), has finally been freed.
The elephant was put inside a kraal (elephant shelter used to train elephants), on May 5. Due to being habituated to humans and forest staff, the animal was lured inside the kraal, built in Vazhaithottam, using food.
Forest Department officials had initially remained non-committal on whether Rivaldo would be freed from captivity, insisting that the elephant required medical treatment and would not be able to survive in the wild if freed.
However, after opposition from wildlife and animal welfare activists, including BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, an expert committee was instituted to look into whether the elephant could be released back into the wild.
Based on recommendations put forth by the committee members, and after discussions were held between Forest Department officials in MTR with Chief Wildlife Warden, Shekhar Kumar Niraj and Principal Secretary (Environment and Forests), State of Tamil Nadu, it was decided to release Rivaldo back into the wild.
The radio-collared elephant was released on Monday into an interior area of the tiger reserve. K.K. Kaushal, Field Director of MTR, in a statement, said that the area in which the elephant was released was remote and away from human habitations. He added that the elephant was healthy, happy, and was continuing to be monitored by field sta