Bring back Arikomban to Chinnakanal, demands locals fearing tusker's curse

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

Idukki: The locals of Chinnakkanal Chembakathozhukudi staged a road roko on Suryanelli – Bodimettu road on Monday, demanding to bring back Arikomban to Chinnakkanal. More than 100 tribal families are living in Chembakathozhukudi. The tribal people fear that the tusker’s curse for taking it away from its territory would quash the village’s opulence and fortune.

Arikomban is 284 kilometres away from Chinnakkanal
The Tamil Nadu Forest Department has chosen Kalakkad- Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve to let out Ari Komban as it is the farthest and the aptest habitat for the elephant.

It is about 284 kilometres away from Chinnakkanal by road. This wildlife sanctuary spread in Thirunelveli and Kanyakumari districts is part of the Agasthyarkoodam Bio Reserve. Ponmudi in Kerala is also part of the same forest area. It is expected that Arikomban will not stray into inhabited areas, again.

Former forest official questions translocation
“Who is the authority to decide on the fate of Arikomban, the wild tusker which was born and lived in the forests of Kerala when it enters Tamil Nadu? All wild animals are the property of the nation. Both the Centre and the states have equal powers to form legislation. Only the states and the forest departments change, the laws applicable to the animals remain the same, said former wildlife chief warden P K Keshavan.

As all the forests along the Western Ghats are connected, the wild animals move freely crossing the state boundaries. Even though the states have demarcated the forest boundaries for ease of administration, these borders do not apply to wild animals.

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