Operation Belur Makhna called off for second consecutive day

Wayanad: Operation Belur Makhna had to be called off for the second consecutive day after the Special Rapid Response Team failed to tranquillize and capture the problem elephant, which trampled a man to death in Chaligadha near Mananthavadi on Saturday. The elephant remained in the depths of the forest, which made it difficult for the darting experts to shoot it.

The last known location of the animal was in a valley and a marshy field in the Mannundi forest zone of the North Wayanad Forest Division. The mission will resume on Tuesday morning. The shooters made one attempt on Monday but missed.

North Wayanad DFO Martin Lowell told Onmanorama that the animal is still at large in the jungle. “Normally, elephants tend to move back if we burst crackers or create some sort of noise. However, Belur Makhna charges towards the source of the sound. It is fearless, furious and smart. But we will capture it soon.” He also said it was unsafe for villagers residing in the forest fringes if the animal was left to roam freely.

The forest department has already deployed RRTs in the surrounding zones, including in the four sensitive spots of Mannundi village, which is prone to elephant attacks. Special patrolling in villages close to the forest will continue. Trackers are camping atop temporary tree huts in the jungle to watch for the elephant and alert the ground personnel.

Holiday for schools
On account of the crisis, District Collector Dr Renu Raj declared a holiday for all educational institutions on February 13 (Tuesday) in Thirunelli panchayat and also in the Kurukkanmoola, Kuruva, Kadankolli and Payyampalli divisions of Mananthavadi municipality.

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