Tamil Nadu: Wild tusker Arikomban, translocated to Periyar tiger reserve from Idukki’s Chinnakanal on April 29, entered Tamil Nadu’s Cumbum town from the lower camp area in the state’s forest ranges on Saturday.
Visuals of the elephant running rampage across town went viral on social media. Three people were injured while fleeing from the elephant. One of them sustained critical injuries.
The tusker damaged several autorickshaws and two-wheelers in the area. Wild elephant was reportedly moving to Cumbum Mettu area traversing coconut groves that run parallel to roads.
Tamil Nadu is on high alert as the wild elephant has entered its forest range and continued to move from one place to another. The state forest department is planning to tranquilise the elephant and translocate it back to the forest.
On Friday, May 26, the elephant was spotted roaming around 10 km away from Kumily. As per the signal recieved from the elephant’s radio collar, it was moving towards the route to Chinnakanal.
Though experts dismissed the chances of Arikomban’s return to Chinnakanal, signals from its radio collar had suggested that it is moving towards Chinnakanal. Mathikettan Shola is situated in a forest range with hilly terrain. Arikomban can easily reach Chinnakanal once it descends from this hilly area.
The elephant was spotted in Rosapookandam, Kumily just 100 metres away from human settlements on Thursday at 11:00 pm. The forest department said the animal was chased back to the forest by firing warning shots into the sky and drumming up noise. The elephant had charged at the forest officials at the time.
On Thursday morning, Arikomban was located 6-km away from Kumily town. After exploring the area, the elephant returned to Medakanam, the spot where it was released in the Periyar tiger reserve. Medakanam is the largest range in Periyar east division. Arikomban had returned to the same spot on Wednesday as well.
The forest department is monitoring the data from the GPS collar attached to the tusker and the VHF antenna.
The delay in the reception of the signal from the radio collar has made tracking difficult.
Officials of the Forest Division III in Tamil Nadu and Kerala Forest Department are closely tracking the elephant. The elephant will be captured if it continues to journey in the Chinnakanal direction.
Forest department is expecting the tusker to return to periyar reserve by tonight.