Forest dept personnel closing in on rogue elephant PT-7 in Dhoni

Palakkad Tusker 7. Photo: Manorama Online

Dhoni (Palakkad): Around 75 Forest Department personnel and three captive elephants are now after the rogue tusker named PT-7 (Palakkad Tusker 7) in a bid to capture it. The latter was spotted on Friday days after bid to locate it even as the local residents in Dhoni where the wild elephant has been wreaking terror on for days fumed against the delay.

Led by forest chief veterinary surgeon Dr Arun Zachariah, the Rapid Response Team left for the forest at 4am on Saturday in its bid to tranquillise and capture it at a safe spot.

Captive (kumki) elephants Surendran, Bharathan and Vikram are also part of the team.

Challenges galore

• The presence of other wild elephants along with PT- 7 poses a challenge to the team. The forest department is also apprehensive over how PT-7 would react if it is isolated from other elephants.

• If the elephant is tranquilised in the interior of the forest, it would be difficult to transport the tusker to the cage from such a long distance. PT-7 has to be driven to a spot which is neither deep inside the forest nor an inhabited area, before it is tranquilised.

• Another minor challenge before the team is the absence of open spaces in the forest area of Dhoni. There were more open spaces in the forest of Sultan Bathery, that aided in the efforts to capture PM-2 (another rogue wild elephant) recently.

• Once darted, it would take at least 30 minutes for the elephant to be tranquilised. This raises concerns over where and how far the elephant would go within this time.

Final preparations

• A lorry has been kept ready to transport PT- 7, once it is captured. A paddock, using wooden logs, has been set up at the rear of the lorry.

• A path has been cleared for the lorry to ply. Once a safe spot to tranquilise the tusker is identified, a path would be cleared towards it.

• Special food and medicines have been prepared to be given to the elephant, once captured.

• The enclosure for the elephant is being watered daily to reduce the heat.

• Checks to determine the strength of the enclosure were completed on Friday.

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