KOCHI: May-end marks one year of Chandru aka Peelandi’s stay at the Abhayaranyam Elephant Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, Kodanad, a village in Ernakulam flanked by the Periyar river. Snorting and occasionally making excited rumbling sounds in the ‘anakalari’, the tusker is eagerly awaiting its entry into the kraal from its present isolated special enclosure. The once rogue elephant had killed seven people in Attappadi, Palakkad and was feared by villagers as a persistent troublemaker.
Peelandi had trodden wildly through agricultural lands and destroyed crops adding to the residents’ troubles. It was tranquilized and captured on May 30 last year and brought to the Abhayaranyam Centre, one of the biggest elephant rehabilitation centres in Kerala. Put in a secluded special cage built of sturdy eucalyptus wood, the elephant was being trained by two mahouts.
The tribal community worships elephants as gods. Back in November, the members of a tribal community from Attappadi had come to visit their local God and pay their respects. The tusker was named Peelandi by locals as it had killed a man of the same name. When it was moved to Abhayaranyam, he was named Chandrasekharan and fondly nicknamed Chandru by officers.
“The elephant seems comfortable. The two mahouts catering to the tusker are satisfied with its health and performance. We are looking forward to consult the veterinary doctor this Saturday. Once we get the consent, the tusker will be moved to a kraal in a month,” said Range Forest Officer Anisha Sidhik.
“We won’t rush it. It’s a wild animal and its wild instincts may still be there. One side of Abhayaranyam is inhabited by people. Steps will be taken slowly considering every aspect of the issue,” she said.
The two mahouts Murukan and Ratheesh told Express the elephant is relatively calm now and is obeying instructions. “It doesn’t create much problems now and is easier to handle. It’s the best time to introduce him to the kraal,”they said.