After four days of struggle, the forest officials tranquilized and captured the wild elephant nicknamed Arisi Raja aka Saapattu Raman , near Pollachi in Coimbatore district in the early hours of Thursday.
After tranquilizing in the forest fringes near Arthanaripalayam village around 12.30 a.m, it was taken to Topslip.
An official involved in the operation said that two darts were shot at the elephant. The first dart of five ml tranquilizer was shot at the elephant as it came to a forest boundary around 9.30 p.m. on Wednesday. As the elephant moved further, a second dart of 3 ml tranquillizer was shot at the tusker at 12.30 a.m. on Thursday. The elephant came to a halt shortly after the second dart and ropes were tied around its neck and legs.
With the help of two kumkis (trained elephants) namely Khaleem and Kapildev, the tusker was loaded on to a truck at 7.30 a.m. in an operation lasting more than eight hours. Efforts to capture the tusker had started on Sunday.
The elephant was taken to Topslip where it will be put in a kraal (wooden enclosure) at the Varagaliar elephant camp of Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR).
The elephant earned the nicknames for its habit of raiding houses and shops for soft food, cooked rice or even raw rice. The department had sought the opinion of elephant expert Ajay Desai, consultant with the WWF, before deciding to keep the tusker in captivity.
Mr. Desai had opined that translocating the elephant to another location was not advisable, considering facts such as its habituation to people, crop-raiding habit, ability to breach electric fencing, habit of breaking houses to feed soft food like rice, tendency to attack people and its lack of fear for lights and noise made during driving operations.
The elephant has so far killed three persons from Navamalai and Arthanaripalayam areas near Pollachi. While the elephant killed two persons from Navamalai near Aliyar in May, it killed a third person from Arthanaripalayam on November 9.
Deputy Field Director A.S. Marimuthu said around 90 persons including forest ranger officers from ATR forest ranges, three forest veterinary officers from Hosur, Theni and Coimbatore, and a retired forest veterinary officer and field staff of the Department were involved in the operation. Chief Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle Debasis Jana, also the field director of the ATR) oversaw the operation.