'Arikomban safe, healthy; adapted well to KMTR in past 75 days'

Arikomban at Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve. Photo: Twitter/Supriya Sahu

Thiruvananthapuram: Almost four months and two translocations later, wild tusker Arikomban seems to be settling in well at his new abode at Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, over 300 kms away from its home in Idukki's Chinnakanal.

"Arikomban is healthy and has settled down well in his new home. The ground team is looking after the health and well being of the elephant since its release in KMTR about 75 days ago," the Conservator of Forests & Field Director Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) said in press release on Tuesday.

According to reports, the tusker recently strayed away from a herd of elephants after befriending them in Pudurnadu.

"Deputy Director, Kalakad Division, along with the frontline staff saw the elephant on August 19 and 20 at Upper Kodayar. The team observed that the tusker is active and very healthy. The tusker was seen foraging in the dam site. Monitoring of the movement pattern of the tusker is being carried out through the signals emitted from the radio collar. Other elephant herds too are in the vicinity," the release said.

Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary Environment Climate Change and Forests in Tamil Nadu posted the details of the elephant on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Prior to this, Tamil Nadu had released photos and videos of the elephant four times after its relocation. The halt in release of pictures, however, led to widespread suspicion on the elephant's health status.

Arikomban's capture from Chinnakanal on April 29 caught national attention. The tusker had terrorised the region with frequent raids in human settlements. The elephant had reportedly killed humans.

The tusker was named Arikomban after its penchant for rice, which is a portmanteau of two Malayalam words, ari (rice) and komban (tusker). Initially, the Kerala forest department translocated Arikomban to the Periyar tiger reserve but it found its way to settlements in Tamil Nadu's Cumbum.

Later, the TN government launched a second translocation mission on June 5. Arikomban was shifted to Upper Kodayar forest area of ​​Tirunelveli's Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR). Kodayar forest area is in Agasthyarkoodam on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.

The elephant's route is being tracked at the Periyar Tiger Sanctuary through a radio collar signal. Kerala forest department also receives information about elephant movement through Kanyakumari DFO.

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