After BJP leader and noted animal activist, Maneka Gandhi joined the chorus of wildlife activists seeking elephant ‘Kusha’ be freed, Karnataka Forest Minister Arvanid Limbavali on Wednesday directed the forest officials to set the jumbo free from captivity.
This decision was taken after a high-level meeting of forest officials, chaired by the minister here. Limbavali had called this meeting exclusively to discuss this matter, following the complaints.
The minister also instructed forest officials to fix a radio collar on the elephant and let it into the jungle once a suitable place is identified.
He also directed the officers to take necessary safety steps to release this animal.
The 29-year-old Kusha was captured in Chettalli limits of Kodagu nearly three years ago after causing damage to crops and properties, but escaped from captivity in March 2020. The bull elephant was finally recaptured in March this year after several attempts by the forest staff.
After recapturing the jumbo, the Forest Department had chained it and kept under watchful eyes of mahouts and other trained elephants in Dubare elephant camp in Kodagu district.
Limbavali reiterated that the forest officers had never ill-treated Kusha.
He also directed the forest officials to take over seven elephants including five calves which are under the care of Prajna Chowta, who runs Aane Mane foundation which takes care of semi-trained elephants.
The minister claimed that he had received multiple complaints from local residents against Chowta for running an elephant camp in Kodagu.
Chowta has carved a niche for herself being first woman mahout in the country. She is the daughter of Darbe Krishnananda Chowta, a Tulu writer, businessman and artist, and sister of famous Bollywood music director Sandeep Chowta. Prajna became passionate about elephants during college days and is running base camp in Dubare in Kodagu since 2002.