Forest officials capture wild elephant ‘Vadakanadu Komban’ in Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary


The Forest and Wildlife Department on Monday morning captured a wild elephant that had been creating fear among villagers in Vadakkanad area in Wayanad district for the past many years.

The tusker had been captured from Chembarathi Moola forest in Kurichiyad forest range under the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) and will be shifted to a temporary kraal set up at Muthanga.

The jumbo, aged about 26 years, has been causing panic among people in various hamlets on the forest fringes after it killed a boy on May 30, 2018.

Though the animal had left the area after the incident, it reappeared by December-end in 2018 and started destroying crops. The jumbo, a regular crop-raider in the Sulthan Bathery and Kurichyad ranges under the sanctuary, was fixed with a radio collar telemeter on March 13, 2018, after protests by the villagers.

Though the Chief Wildlife Warden had issued an order on May 30, 2018, to capture the elephant and translocate it to the Muthanga elephant camp, the pachyderm left the area the very next day. It was around seven months in the adjacent Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka and it reappeared in Vadakkanad area a few months back, said Warden N.T. Sajan, who is supervising the operation.

A contingent of Forest officials, veterinary doctors, tranquiliser experts, trackers and kumki (trained) elephants are being employed at the WWS to capture the elephant, known among the villagers as ‘Vadakanadu Komban’.

The operation began at 5 a.m. with the help of three kumki elephants — Surya, Neelakandan, and Pramugha, Mr. Sajan, said.

The team located the animal in the Chembarathi Moola forest near Vadakkanadu, at 5 a.m. Soon after, a team of veterinary surgeons led by Arun Zachariah, administered it the first dose of tranquiliser dart at 6 a.m. followed by a mild dose around 6.30 a.m., Chief Conservator of forest, wildlife, Palakkad, B. Anjan Kumar, who is camping here for the operation.

The pachyderm has shown the symptoms of sedation and it would be shifted to the mobile ambulance of the department parked near the forest soon, Mr. Anjan Kumar said. The jumbo would be housed in a makeshift kraal at the Muthanga elephant camp under the sanctuary, Mr.Anjan Kumar added.


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