Arikomban near residential area; Tamil Nadu forest dept keeps close watch

Arikomban in TN
Arikomban in TN. Photo: Reju Arnold/ Manorama

Idukki: Translocated wild tusker Arikomban continues to venture into human settlements in Tamil Nadu a day after the state's forest department failed to capture it.

According to reports, the task force deployed for 'Mission Arikomban' will dart to tranquilise the tusker if it enters a  residential area.

“The elephant was seen 1.5 km from Surulipatti in Cumbum. The signals from its radio collar helped identify the animals's location. We are planning to dart tranquliser shots when the tusker enters human settlements,” said a forest official.

Tamil Nadu forest department launched the mission to capture the elephant on Sunday. But they failed in the mission as Arikomban continued to play hide-and-seek and retreated deeper into the forest from Surulipatti area. Tamil Nadu government has planned to translocate the elephant to Meghamalai Tiger Reserve after capturing it.

Three kumki elephants and a task force including veterinary doctors are camping in Cumbum to execute the mission.

Arikomban, which strayed into Cumbum in Theni district of Tamil Nadu on Saturday, attacked one person and destroyed some property.

With the wild pachyderm roaming through the streets, civic authorities made announcements on the public address system, cautioning people to stay indoors, even as videos of the elephant running around town went viral.

Panicked local residents were seen running for safety and cover in the town bordering Kerala.

The tusker attacked one person, Paulraj; he is receiving treatment at a government hospital, authorities said.

The animal damaged an autorickshaw in the town and uprooted a fence put up around a piece of land.

On April 29, Kerala forest department translocated the elephant from Chinnakanal in Idukki to Periyar tiger reserve. But the elephant continued to travel from the spot where it was released and covered a considerable distance to reach Tamil Nadu's Cumbum. It was expected the elephant may return to Chinnakanal if it crosses the Mathikettan Shola area.

(With PTI inputs)

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