Wayanad: The elephant which stomped a man to death, is giving the Rapid Response Team (RRT) a hard time on the second day of ‘Operation Belur Makhna’. The animal has been evasive mostly. On a few occasions, it was spotted, that Belur Makhna was often violent and roguish.
The team resumed the search operations in the Bavali area under the North Wayanad Forest division on Monday. While the RRT could track the signals from the radio collar, the elephant kept shifting its location. Unless the team finds an ideal proximity range, darting is not possible.
The fierce nature of Belur Makhna has ruled out the chance of darting the animal from the ground. The team is being cautious and moving atop Kumki elephants. They had a reason to do so.
On Sunday, the team had a narrow escape in the jungle when the elephant furiously charged towards the Kumki elephant carrying the dart team. The Kumki elephants stood their ground forcing Belur Makhna to back away. The elephant then wandered back into the forest.
According to North Wayanad DFO Martin Lowell, the team had almost located the animal and the signals from the radio collar would be received once the team reached about 300 meters close to the animal. "The mission is tough as the animal is violent and the darting team is ready with the guns to take the tranquillizer shots," he said.
Lowell also said that due to the movement of vehicles and the presence of Kumki elephants, the Belur Makhna is also scared and there is a possibility of it charging towards the RRT team. “So the darting experts depended more on the Kumki elephants and also took position on trees and tree huts on the roaming track of the animal for a safe and secure shot." Lowell also said more RRT teams from Nilambur and Mannarkad have joined the mission.
Once tranquilised, the animal would be shifted immediately to the Muthanga elephant camp in the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and the future course of action would be finalized after mandatory medical examination.
The Wayanad District Collector Dr Renu Raj said with a 200-member strong Rapid Response Team (RRT), the state government is trying all possible ways to tranquilize and capture Belur Makhna. In a press note issued on Monday, the District Collector said the RRT team has been divided into 10 groups and has been deployed in the jungle wherever the animal is expected to move through.