Elephant attack: Ministers to visit Wayanad; Govt assures help to deceased tourist guide's family

Minister AK Saseendran. Photo: Manorama News

Kozhikode: Amid mounting protests against the wild elephant attack in Wayanad, forest minister A K Saseendran here on Saturday told media that the government will provide necessary help to the family of the tourist guide who was trampled to death by a wild elephant at Kuruva Island. He added that a delegation of ministers including forest, revenue and local self-government ministers will visit Wayanad on Sunday.

The deceased is Paul (52), a native of Vellachalil at Pakkom near Pulpally here He was employed as a temporary guide at Kuruva Island Eco-tourism centre.

He encountered the elephant while stationed near the Eco-Tourism centre to turn away people from the area due to the ongoing operation to capture wild elephant Belur Makhna that killed a farmer in Mananthavady on February 10. The elephant stomped on the guide causing serious injuries to his rib cage and back. He was then shifted to Kozhikode Medical College where he died, said an official.

The attack occurred a day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a meeting with people's representatives from the hilly district and issued a slew of directions to prevent human-animal encounters there

Addressing the media, the forest minister expressed grief over the death of the man who was an employee of the forest department. At the same time, he rubbished the allegations of lapses in providing medical care to Paul soon after the wild elephant attack. 

“ He was rushed to Mananthavady Government Medical College hospital after sustaining severe injuries in the attack. After observing the limited facilities at this hospital, he was taken to Kozhikode Government Medical College hospital for expert medical care,” said the minister.

Talking about the forest department's mission to capture Belur Makhna, the rogue elephant that killed a farmer in Mananthavady, the minister explained that the forest officials have been struggling to trace and tranquillize the animal for the past seven days. Meanwhile, he dismissed the opposition's calls for his resignation and termed it disloyal.

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