Do not release Arikomban into forest today: Madras HC on plea to handover elephant to Kerala

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TN Forest Department vehicle used to shift Arikomban | Photo:

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Monday directed the Tamil Nadu Forest Department not to release the rogue wild tusker Arikomban, which was captured earlier in the day, into the forest in Tirunelveli. The directive was given by the Madurai bench of the court, while considering a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by animal lover Rebecca Joseph, a native of Ernakulam.

As per the court’s latest direction, the jumbo should be kept in custody of the Forest Department until a detailed hearing is held on the case on Tuesday. The petitioner has requested to return the elephant back to Kerala and expressed concern over its safety in Tamil Nadu.

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Arikomban, which has been posing a threat to the residents of Cumbum town, was darted and captured around 12.30 am on Monday. Following that, the forest authorities began efforts to translocate the animal to Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR). The jumbo is currently at the forest department's deer park in Gangaikondan, Tirunelveli.

The darting mission took place near Poosanampatti. Subsequently, a specialised vehicle designed for containing wild tuskers was arranged to facilitate the translocation. Meanwhile, forest department officials have verified and confirmed that the elephant is healthy.

Arikomban, which rampaged through the residential areas in Idukki’s Chinnakanal, was translocated to Periyar Tiger Reserve on April 29. Later, it strayed into Cumbum town on May 27 and allegedly attacked a man in Theni who later died. According to the Kerala forest department, it has killed seven people in Idukki.

Subsequently, the Tamil Nadu government formed a team of experienced forest officials under the field director of Srivilliputhur Megamalai Tiger Reserve (SMTR) to capture the wild tuskers.

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