Panic in Sulthan Bathery after wild jumbo enters town
Two kumki elephants have been brought to drive the stray jumbo back into the forest.
SULTHAN BATHERY: Prohibitory orders were clamped in 10 wards of Sulthan Bathery in Wayanad and holiday declared in schools in the areas as precaution after a wild elephant strayed into the town in the early hours of Friday. The jumbo attacked a morning walker and was chased back into the forest around 8am.
However, forest department issued an alert that it may return, prompting the Manathavady sub-divisional magistrate to announce the precautionary steps. Wayanad wildlife warden Abdul Azeez said the forest department has sought permission to chemically immobilise the elephant. Two kumki elephants have been brought to drive the stray jumbo back into the forest.
“We drove the elephant away, but it may be back any time. Additional forces have been deployed to track the jumbo, named PM2. It was caught and its ratio collared by Tamil Nadu forest authorities after it trampled an old woman and destroyed houses in Gudalur. Authorities from the Tamil Nadu forest department have also arrived to track the elephant. We tracked the elephant by evening using GPS. It was roaming 2.5km inside the forest,” Azeez said.
The elephant was sighted in the farmlands near the town on Thursday and entered the town around 2.30am on Friday. It chased a KSRTC bus and roamed around the town near the bus stand and municipal office.
‘Forest dept has failed to end jumbo menace’
The jumbo attacked Thampi, a resident who was out for morning walk, from behind. It knocked Thampi down and tried to trample him, but couldn’t as he fell behind the railings of a footpath. Thampi was admitted to the Sultan Bathery taluk hospital with injuries on the leg.
Sultan Bathery assistant wildlife warden S Renjith Kumar said the elephant entered human habitat through a gap in the rail fencing erected in the Kurichiatt range.
“The gap had increased as the earth underneath had been washed away following rain. The elephant is a dwarf makhana (tuskless male elephant), so it was able to sneak in. It was collared by the TN forest department under a project of the World Wildlife Fund in Gudalur division. It entered the road and walked into the town,” Renjith said.
Farmers in Sultan Bathery have launched a protest demanding to save them from wild animal menace.
“There have been frequent tiger sightings in Sultan Bathery ever since the forest department opened the Tiger Rehabilitation Centre in town. Elephants are raiding our crops daily. The forest department has failed to take steps to end the elephant menace,” said Gifton Prince, a farmer.
He said PM2 was a rogue elephant that has killed two people and destroyed 50 houses in Gudalur. “Its presence in Sultan Bathery is a threat. It should be tranquilised and shifted to Tamil Nadu,” he said.