Chennai, June 7 (BPNS)
Tamil Nadu forest department personnel are camping at the base near Kalakkad- Mundanthurai forest range to monitor the movement of wild tusker, Arikomban after it was tranquilized and captured from Cumbum in Theni district and relocated to this forest area on Monday early morning hours.
Forest officials of Tamil Nadu told BPNS that the elephant had taken a refreshing bath in the lower Gothaiyar dam area on Tuesday. There has been protests at the forest check posts when the forest ambulance carrying the elephant had reached the border areas of the forest.
The forest officials are monitoring the animal through the signals emanating from the radio collar attached to the animal when it was tranquilized and captured in Chinnakanal, Idukki district of Kerala on April 29, 2023.
It may be noted that the elephant, Arikomban,has hit headlines due to its constant raids of ration shops in Chinnakanal area of the Idukki district for getting rice which was its favourite food. Several shops and human settlements were destroyed by the elephant during its frequent raids in Idukki.
The Tamil Nadu forest department captured the elephant after it entered Cumbum town and created havoc even leading to the death of a person who fell down from his two wheeler after the elephant brushed past it.
However animal lovers are opposed to the treatment meted out to the elephant. Stephen Daniel, a wild life activist based out of Coimbatore while speaking to BPNS said, “ The elephant has been tranquilized in two occasions ,first in Kerala at Chinnakanal ,Idukki on April 29 and then again on last Saturday at Cumbum in Tamil Nadu. Firing tranquilizers at the animal will affect its health as from Cumbum it was standing in the forest ambulance for more than 11 hours at a stretch. The mental and physical agony the animal was undergoing is unfathomable and the forest departments of the two states have lot of answers to give.”
He also said that the wrong policies of the governments in power to put develop human settlements in elephant routes were the root cause of the Human-elephant conflicts. The activist said that instead of punishing the policymakers, the establishment was punishing the poor elephant.
The forest department officers however said that the elephant would have created a lot of damages in the human settlements of Cumbum, Theni areas if it was not captured and relocated to the deep forests in Kanniyakumari district.