Tamil Nadu

Video of elephant being injured by burning bag emerges in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve; two arrested

A disturbing video recorded on a mobile phone of people hurling a burning bag on a 50-year-old elephant in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) has surfaced through messaging applications.

Nilgiris Collector J. Innocent Divya said the building, a portion of which was operating as a homestay, would be sealed. She said the owners of the property were running the homestay on the upper floor with four rooms. The elephant died of the injuries a few days ago.

Forest Department officials said the video was recorded by a neighbour of the person, who is seen throwing the object on the elephant. The object got stuck around the animal’s ear. The elephant runs off in pain to the forest. The people watching the incident are heard shouting at the elephant, “Go, go into the forest and die.”

The elephant, which had been injured since December, died on January 19, shortly after it was captured by the Forest Department in a last-ditch effort at treatment at Theppakadu Elephant Camp.

The incident is said to have occurred at a private residence-cum-homestay in the buffer zone of the MTR.

MTR officials said they arrested two persons identified as S. Prasath, 36, of Masinagudi, and M. Raymond Dean, 28, of Mavanallah. Forest Department officials are on the lookout for Raymond’s brother, Ricky Rayan, 31.

Forest Department officials said Raymond Dean and Ricky Rayan were the owners of the property, while Prasath was the person seen in the video hurling the flaming object at the elephant.

Conservationists in the Nilgiris have voiced dismay. “The elephant was known to enter human habitations very frequently,” one of them said.

N. Mohanraj said the video made it clear that there was premeditation to injure or kill the elephant. “All the people responsible for the animal’s death need to be arrested. This is a tragic loss of life that could have easily been avoided,” he said.

N. Sadiq Ali, founder of the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust (WNCT), said the incident was a reaction to the notification of the elephant corridor in the MTR buffer zone. “The notification of the corridor has further polarised the opinion of people, especially resort and home-stay owners, against the wildlife. “The MTR staff strength needs to be bolstered, while there should be cooperation between the Forest Department, the police and local NGOs to increase patrolling and prevent such problematic interactions,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 6:41:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/video-of-elephant-being-injured-by-burning-bag-emerges-in-mudumalai-tiger-reserve-two-arrested/article33639373.ece

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