Tusker Rivaldo walks into wild after three months in kraal

Team formed to monitor his movement to ensure no crossover into human habitations

Published: 03rd August 2021 05:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd August 2021 05:20 AM   |  A+A-

Rivaldo steps into the wild after spending three months in kraal | express

By Express News Service

COIMBATORE: Tusker Rivaldo stepped out in the wild at Chikkala inside Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) on Monday, after spending nearly three months in a kraal at Vazhaithottam. Having got his freedom back, Rivaldo celebrated the moment with a mud bath.

Principal Secretary (Environment and Forests) Supriya Sahu, who headed the release operation, said Rivaldo has been fitted with a radio collar and that this is the first time an elephant kept in a kraal has been rehabilitated and released back into the wild. 

Rivaldo dodged several attempts made by the forest department to capture him. Unlike the usual practice of using tranquliser darts, Rivaldo was lured into the kraal on May 5 with his favourite fruits placed in his route since the animal frequented human habitation near Vazhaithottam. Forest department officials feared that Rivaldo might face threats from the locals like a wild elephant (nicknamed) ‘SI’ did. Two people threw inflammable material at SI’s ear, following which it died.

From ground-zero 

The challenging operation began at 3 am on Monday, when the forest department staff loaded Rivaldo on to a specially designed truck from the kraal for the 34-km ride to Chikkala. A team of five veterinarians, two kumki elephants along 100 anti-poaching watchers was involved in the operation. Supriya Sahu and chief wildlife warden Shekar Neeraj appreciated the team for the flawless operation.  

Monitoring the jumbo

Addressing media persons in Masinagudi, Supriya Sahu said a control room has been established in Theppakadu and a team would be tracking the elephant round the clock and ensure he does not venture back near human habitation. MTR officials did not reveal information till Rivaldo was released. MTR field director KK Kaushal said there was an element of risk and that was why they we were tight-lipped.

Factors deciding release

Rivaldo was released based on report by an expert committee that checked on his health. Availability of green fodder, water and the absence of human  habitation were factors taken into consideration before deciding on his release 


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