Arikomban retreats into Koothanachi forest; darting team likely to drop mission  

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Arikomban in Cumbum | Photo: Mathrubhumi / Sreejith P Raj

Cumbum: The rogue rice-eating tusker ‘Arikomban’, which had been terrorising the residents of Cumbum Town in Tamil Nadu, has reportedly retreated to Koothanachi reserve forest. According to signals from the GPS collar, the tusker is within one kilometre radius from the forest borders and is probably moving towards Megamalai Tiger Reserve.

Although Arikomban has withdrawn to the forest, Tamil Nadu forest officials are continuing their search for the tusker. High frequency VHF antenna has been brought for surveillance. Top officials including field director Padmavati and darting expert Dr Kalaivanan are also part of the task force.

As it is illegal to fire tranquiliser shots at the elephant while it is inside the forest, the darting mission will be put on hold until the jumbo returns to inhabited areas again. Also, if Arikomban recedes further into the forest, then the task force is likely to abort the mission.

The forest officials have been carrying out extensive searches for the elephant since Sunday morning. Two ‘kumki’ elephants, Swayambhu and Muthu, were also brought to the area to aid the mission and translocate the tusker.

Arikomban, which posed a threat to the residents of Chinnakanal in Idukki, was translocated to Periyar Tiger Reserve on April 29. Following which, the jumbo went on roaming around various regions including Megamalai in Tamil Nadu.

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