Arikomban tranquilised, to be transferred to another location

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Kumki elephants trying to push tranquilized Arikomban into vehicle for transporting the rogue elephant from Chinnakanal | Videograb: YouTube: Mathrubhumi News

Idukki: Kerala forest officials on Saturday traced the rice-eating tusker 'Arikomban' in Idukki district and tranquilised it for relocation following High Court directions.

The tusker has been frequently straying into human settlements at Chinnakanal and Santhanpara panchayats here. Forest officials fired at least three shots to tranquilise the animal. The first shot was fired at around noon.

The forest officals along with four Kumki elephants are involved in process of guiding the tusker to get into a truck which will be later transported to another location.

Kumkis are captive elephants trained for use in trapping and capturing wild elephants.

Meanwhile, State Forest Minister A K Saseendran said the elephant will be let inside the forest.

"The forest officials and others have done a wonderful job. Now, the main job left is to take the animal in the truck and let it open in deep forest at a location as directed by the High Court," Saseendran told PTI.

The Minister, however, did not disclose the location where the elephant will be translocated.

The location where the elephant will be translocated is right now confidential, as the suggestions were submitted to the High Court in a sealed envelope, the Minister said.

The officials will attach a radio collar to track the elephant and monitor its activities in future.

The Kerala High Court had on April 19 directed the expert panel appointed by it and the State government to take a final decision by May 3 on the alternative site suggested by the Forest department for translocating the Arikomban.

The direction by the High Court came after the Forest department said it had an alternative location in mind and would place the same before the Committee of Experts (CoE) appointed by it to decide the fate of Arikomban for its consideration.

The court had asked the CoE to examine the feasibility of the alternative site for translocating the tusker and to keep details of the recommended location confidential.

The court was hearing a PIL by two animal rights groups -- People for Animals (PFA), Trivandrum Chapter and the Walking Eye Foundation for Animal Advocacy -- opposing the government decision to keep the elephant in captivity and train it to become a kumki elephant.


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