THRISSUR: In the Tamil movie Kabali, the titular character immortalised by superstar Rajinikanth is a superhero who fights for his men and to protect his family from gangsters. Kerala has a ‘Kabali’ too. But this one is a 30-year-old tusker that has been roaming on Athirappilly-Valparai Ghat Road, chasing vehicles that intrude into his and his partner’s privacy.
Forest officials had first spotted the ‘calm and gentle’ tusker on Valparai road in 2019. However, since October first week, it has been a different Kabali that travellers are coming across. Videos of the elephant chasing two-wheelers and tourists along the route have gone viral on social media.
On Tuesday too, the tusker was infuriated when a private bus tried to force its way through the narrow stretch while it was there. The elephant started chasing the vehicle, forcing the driver to drive in reverse for over 1km for almost an hour. People in the bus were on tenterhooks as Kabali was in no mood to relent. The reason for the change in Kabali’s demeanour is that it is in musth, said Sholayar forest range officer Sajeesh V S.
“Kabali has been in musth from the first week of October and is accompanied by a female elephant. Since it is their mating time, the tusker is violent and vigorous. It has now entered the peak of musth period. So, tourists should be cautious,” he said.
Don’t provoke the tusker, forest officials warn tourists
On October 29, forest department officials out on a patrol had a narrow escape when Kabali attacked their jeep. KSEB has started erecting a protective fence around Sholayar power house after Kabali raided the premises a week ago. “An elephant’s musth period extends up to three months. Kabali was in pre-musth period when he chased vehicles in the first week of October.
Now he is in the peak of musth and will be more violent with even the slightest of provocation,” said Sajeesh. Forest department staff at the checkposts in Malakkapara and Athirappilly are issuing warnings to tourists passing through the area. Two forest vehicles have been deployed for patrolling on the route to monitor its movements.
“The patrol will help other vehicles cross the area safely,” he said. Tourists have also been warned against provoking Kabali. “There were incidents when the elephant became violent when passengers tried to click selfies. People should understand that sounds of vehicles can provoke an elephant that is in musth,” he said. The forest officials had driven Kabali into the forest a few days ago, but it returned to the road with its mate on Tuesday. “We are not using crackers to drive it away as they will make the animal more violent and prompt him to attack vehicles,” said Sajeesh.