Arikomban 130 km away from Neyyar; video shows wild tusker feeding on grass

Arikomban near Kodayar dam. Photo: Screen grab/Twitter/Supriya Sahu

Thiruvananthapuram: Wild tusker Arikomban, translocated to the Upper Kodayar area of Muthukuzhi forest near Tamil Nadu-Kerala border from Cumbum on June 6, seems to be slowly adapting to its latest habitat.

Visuals released on Wednesday showed Arikomban cleaning grass before eating them near the Kodayar Dam. Neyyar forest area in Kerala is just 130 km away from Kodayar Dam via Vithura.

Chief secretary of Tamil Nadu Forest Department Supriya Sahu IAS shared the new footage of Arikomban on Twitter. She also shared hope that the elephant is calm in the new premises in a note shared with the video.

"Cleans the grass well in tranquil waters before eating. Looks like soaking in the calm and beauty of his new home which we pray should be forever. Time will tell," she tweeted.

The Kerala Forest Department had also informed that Arikomban was stationed near the Kodayar dam. The information was confirmed by a signal from the radio collar attached to its body. Signals on Arikomban's route was received at the Periyar Tiger Sanctuary at 3.30 am on Wednesday.

Kerala forest dept on high alert

The Wildlife Warden of Thiruvananthapuram has been instructed to take necessary precautions in case Arikomban reaches the Neyyar forest area from Kodayar. The forest department has intensified surveillance in border areas. Officials said that the forest department will be alerted if the elephant reaches within 20 km of Neyyar.

Tamil Nadu is handing over the available information about Arikomban to Kerala. Kanyakumari DFO was also in touch with Kerala Forest Department officials on Wednesday.

The forest department has concluded that Arikomban will not be able to travel at its earlier pace given the deep cut in its trunk and injuries on the body. Arikomban is currently stationed in a terrain with steep slopes. Bad weather also hinders travel. The forest department said that Arikomban's route will be clear only after a few more days of observation.

Journey so far

After an overnight journey in a specially designed ambulance, travelling in the districts abutting the western ghats, wild tusker Arikomban was freed in the forest of upper Kodayar in Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari district bordering Kerala on Wednesday.

The elephant's health is fine, and his new habitat would ensure him plenty of water and good fodder, a senior forest department official said on Tuesday.

Asked about the concerns of the people that the elephant might stray into human habitations, he replied he has been left in the deep forest close to a water body with good fodder availability.

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