Wild tusker Karuppan, on radar of TN Forest Dept, spotted with herd in forest

The Tamil Nadu Forest Department team, which is tracking wild tusker, nicknamed ‘Karuppan’, found involved in human-elephant conflict and massive crop destruction at Rangasamy Kovil and Joraikadu areas of Erode district, spotted the animal along with nine other wild elephants in Tuesday.

Farmers of Talavadi area where the elephant had done extensive damage to the crop have charged that Karuppan had killed people but the Forest Department is yet to confirm this.

The Forest Department personnel are tracking the movement of the elephant and is waiting for an opportunity to fire a tranquiliser dart at him.

Around 120 forest personnel drawn from various areas, along with three Kumki elephants Kapil Dev, Muthu, and Kaleem, are in pursuit of the elephant under ‘Operation Black’.

The elephant was sedated twice on January 14 but when the Kumki elephants and earth movers were approached to capture it, it regained consciousness and escaped deep into the forest. As firing a third dart on the same day could have negative health effects on the elephant, the Forest Department dropped the plan and resumed the search for the elephant from Monday onwards.

Drones are also deployed in deep forest areas to locate the elephant and this hot pursuit has now led the forest team to the elephant.

Conservator of Forests and STR Director K. Rajkumar told IANS that it was not safe to continue with the mission while it was with the herd and hence, they were waiting for it to move away.

The farmers and local people had formed a committee and charged that Karuppan had killed people and extensively damaged crops. Talavadi Farmers Association President S. Kannaiyan told IANS that the elephant should be captured at the earliest.

“It’s a dangerous elephant and had killed people. We know that the Forest Department is trying to capture it, but the process has to be speeded up.”

The forest officials said that they are waiting for the elephant to come out of the herd and foray into farmlands where he will be fired at and captured.

The STR officials are planning to dart the elephant with a tranquiliser and then capture it with the help of Kumki elephants and then fix a radio collar on the tusker and relocate it into deep forest. The radio collar will help trace its movements.

20230117-200201

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