HC sets up expert committee to study if Arikomban must be captured; asks to radio-collar jumbo

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Arikomban, Kerala High Court | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday formed an expert committee to study if capturing the wild elephant 'Arikomban' that has reportedly killed 7 people and destroyed several buildings was necessary. It also ordered the Kerala forest department to attach a radio collar to track elephant movements.

In the petition of animal rights activists against the forest department's mission to capture the elephant, the court observed that rehabilitating the residents of ‘301 Colony’ in Chinnakanal would be a more sustainable option than capturing the elephant.

The court will consider the plea again based on the expert committee report. It also ordered the forest officials camped at the site for capturing the elephant to continue there and stay vigilant.

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Anguished by the court order, residents of Idukki staged protests.

According to the forest department, Arikomban, currently camped at Shankarapandyamettu, has killed 7 persons and destroyed 31 buildings in the locality in the past three months. The elephant got its name ‘Arikomban’ as it used to raid ration shops and houses for consuming rice ('ari' in Malayalam).

The district administration had taken unprecedented precautions for the capture of this elephant, as the area of operation is located inside human settlements and in some of Kerala's favourite tourism destinations.

Meanwhile, the high court on March 23 had stayed the mission to cage wild jumbo till March 29. The mission was scheduled for March 26.

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