Not aware of any court order, Arikomban will be released today: TN Forest Minister

The elephant is being taken to Vellimalai in the forest department's vehicle.. Photo: Screengrab/ Manorama News

Idukki: Wild tusker Arikomban will be translocated deep into a forest in Tamil Nadu, the state's Forest Minister Dr M Mathiventhan said on Monday.

The elephant will be released in the Manimutharu forest area of Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tirunelveli district as decided earlier, the minister said.

Meanwhile, the Forest Department denied reports that the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had issued a stay preventing the translocation of the tusker. The Forest Department stated that it has not received a stay order on the matter.

According to reports, the Madurai bench of the Madras HC had stayed the translocation of the elephant till Tuesday. The bench stayed the mission while considering a petition filed by Ernakulam native Rebecca Joseph.

A team of forest officials, who have been tracking the movement of the wild tusker Arikomban, located the elephant and tranquilised it early on Monday. The state's chief wildlife warden confirmed that the elephant is healthy.

The task force deployed for 'mission' Arikomban fired two tranquiliser shots to capture the elephant when it strayed into Theni's Poosanampatti area.

The forest department swiftly acted to capture the elephant when signals from its radio collar confirmed that it was roaming in a residential area near Theni on Sunday night.

Tamil Nadu forest department launched mission Arikomban on May 27 after it triggered panic among the local residents in Cumbum town. An autorickshaw driver who was injured in the mayhem breathed his last while undergoing treatment in a hospital.

The rice-eating tusker was translocated to Periyar tiger reserve by Kerala forest department on April 29. The elephant continued to travel from this spot and entered Tamil Nadu forest range within a few days. Tamil Nadu forest department has been monitoring the movements of the tusker as it had killed nearly 11 people in Kerala and damaged several houses and ration shops in search of food.

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