Wild elephant Belur Makhna still elusive

The undergrowth in Mannundy, Bavali, and Chempakappara areas is posing as the main hurdle in capturing the jumbo
Farmers taking out a protest march at Kattikulam in Wayanad on Tuesday.
Farmers taking out a protest march at Kattikulam in Wayanad on Tuesday.Photo | Express

MANANTHAVADY : Belur Makhna, the wild elephant that killed a 47-year-old farmer in Wayanad last week, continued to give a hard time to the rapid response teams (RRTs) and others deployed to tranquilise and capture it.

As many as 200 people, including forest department officials, RRT members from Muthanga, Nilambur and Mannarkkad and veterinarians, resumed the mission to capture the jumbo in the early hours of Tuesday, but were unable to dart it. The operation will resume on Wednesday.

The signal received around 5.30 am indicated the jumbo was near Irumbupalam, which is 3km away from Mannundy on the road from Kattikulam to Kodagu in Karnataka. The forest department team and medical squad entered the jungle early morning, but the elephant kept moving and ultimately reached Mannundy.

The undergrowth in Mannundy, Bavali, Chempakappara areas was posing the main hurdle in capturing the jumbo, said Shajna A, divisional forest officer (DFO), South Wayanad.

“The elephant’s current position is not suitable for darting and we cannot provoke it as there are residential areas and colonies nearby,” Shajna said.

Meanwhile, the hartal called by farmers’ collective Farmers Relief Forum (FRF) in Wayanad demanding a solution to the wild elephant menace was complete in the district on Tuesday. Shops and commercial establishments downed shutters what with the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi also calling a strike on the day.

FRF Wayanad district chairman P M George warned of intensifying protests if the government fails to take effective measures to address human-wildlife conflicts.

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