Elephant lovers invited trouble: Kerala forest minister on Arikomban fallout

AK Saseendran | File Photo: Manorama
Forest department had planned to translocate the tusker to Kodanad elephant sanctuary. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala forest minister A K Saseendran openly criticised the elephant lovers who approached the Kerala High Court seeking intervention to block the forest department from translocating wild tusker Arikomban to Kodanad elephant sanctuary. He was reacting to the media after Arikomban entered Tamil Nadu's Cumbum and triggered panic.

The minister declared that Tamil Nadu has the full authority on taking any decision related to Arikomban as the wild pachyderm left Kerala and entered the neighbouring state.

At the same time, he rubbished the allegations claiming Mission Arikomban executed by the Kerala forest department was a failed operation.

"The trouble started after elephant lovers approached the judiciary. The department's plan was not to drive away the elephant into the forests. We planned to shift it to Kodanad elephant sanctuary. When the court intervened and appointed an expert panel, the forest department was forced to translocate the tusker to Periyar Tiger Reserve. At the moment the said elephant is located in Tamil Nadu and our officials are regularly in touch with them," said Saseendran.

The minister pointed out that Kerala needs to seek the advice of the panel appointed by the Kerala High Court if the tusker enters into the human settlements in Kerala.

The Forest Department chief has been asked to review the situation and submit a report, added the minister.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has ordered to tranquilise and translocate the tusker to Meghamali Tiger Reserve. Tamil Nadu forest department has been directed to take up the operation on Sunday.

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