Mission Arikomban: Dummy ration store set up to lure wild jumbo, kumki elephant arrives

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Kumki elephant Vikram, location where forest department set up ration store | Photo: Mathrubhumi News/ Screengrab

Thodupuzha: The efforts of the Kerala Forest Department to tranquilise the wild jumbo named Arikomban and shift it to the Kodanad Elephant Training Centre has reached the final stage. The officials will set up a dummy ration store near Cement Palam in Chinnakanal to lure Arikomban into this region.

The fake ration shop will be made in a house which was earlier destroyed by Arikomban. The officials will store gruel, rice and a few groceries here.

It has been planned to tranquilise Arikomban once it reaches Cement Palam and trap it with the help of kumki elephants.

On Monday morning, kumki elephant Vikram was brought to Chinnakanal. The department informed that three more kumki elephants will be brought to this region in the coming days. The mission to catch Arikomban will be carried out by splitting the 30-member group into 8 teams. Police, health department and district administration will join the forest department in the mission. A team under veterinary surgeon Dr Arun Zachariah will also arrive soon.

The residents of Chinnakanal, Singukandam, Bl Ram, Suryanelli, Pooppara, Anayirankal and Santhanpara were in utter distress due to the recurrent incidents of elephant attacks.

Currently, Arikomban has camped at Shankarapandyamettu and attracting the elephant to Cement Palam will be an onerous task, said officials. Arikomban, aged between 30 and 40 years, has killed over 12 persons and destroyed several ration stores and houses in the locality. The elephant got its name ‘Arikomban’ as it used to raid ration shops and houses for consuming rice (Ari).

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