Chennai, Mar 23 (BPNS)
The Tamil Nadu forest department is for a synchronized census of wild elephants along with the forest departments of Kerala and Karnataka. This is to avoid double entries of wild elephants and sources in the forest department told BPNS that the forest department of Tamil Nadu has already communicated to the forest departments of Kerala and Karnataka in this regard.
The immediate reason for the synchronized elephant census is following the death of a wild female elephant who was injured in the mouth. The elephant that was detected by the Forest task force of Tamil Nadu in the deep forests of Karamadai forest range was found to be having difficulties in taking food. The forest officials of Karamadai forest range captured the elephant and shifted it to Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) for treatment of the animal. The elephant however did not respond to treatment and died on March 19, 2023 at the Anamalai Tiger Reserve. On postmortem of the animal it was found that the elephant was injured after biting ‘Avattukai’ ( Country made bomb).
The animal, according to the veterinarians who conducted its postmortem, was suffering from mouth ulcers and had gangrenous wounds making it totally difficult to take food. This led to the sudden death of the elephant.
The Tamil Nadu forest department however said that the elephant would not have bitten the ‘Avattukai’ from the Tamil Nadu forest range but added that it could be from Kerala. The Karamadai Forest Range is adjacent to the Mannarcaud forest range in Kerala and there is the possibility of the animal entering the Karamadai forest range from the Mannarcaud forest range.
The forest department officials said that with a synchronized census of wild elephants and proper documentation, there can be an exact idea of number of elephants in the forests of each state. Tamil Nadu forest officials said that with proper data of each elephant, there can be more understanding of that elephant and its mannerisms.
S. Balasubramanian, Conservator of Forest and field director at Anamalai Tiger Reserve said that the department was seeking a meeting with the Palakkad forest range officials.
He said that the Tamil Nadu forest department will be constituting a team of forest officials to in seven forest ranges of the state to conduct a detailed investigation on the illegal use of ‘Avattukai’ that was being used to hunt down boars. The Forest official said that the forest special team would also check on the illegal fencing that was connected with high voltage power lines leading to the death of wild elephants by electrocution.
It may be noted that three female elephants were killed recently in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu after they got in contact with live electric fencing while trying to enter a farm. The farmer who did the illegal connection, Murugan was arrested and remanded in judicial custody.
The forest department of Tamil Nadu has commenced a series of awareness programmes among the public against the illegal installation of electric fences as also against the use of high blast sounds that would provoke the elephant.