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Locals wary as jumbo Vinayaga strays close to human habitat

Like Rivaldo, a radio collar was fixed on Vinayaga before it was released, but the animal managed to free itself and the forest department lost track of him.

Published: 09th August 2021 10:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2021 10:55 AM   |  A+A-

Residents and along with the forest department staff at a farm land where Vinayaga uprooted a tree near MTR recently.

Express News Service

COIMBATORE: Even as Rivaldo is keeping forest officials on their toes by returning to his favourite grazing ground in Vazhaithottam, Vinayaga, a wild elephant that was captured in Chinna Thadagam, and relocated to tri-junction Bandipur, Kerala and Mudumalai Tiger Reserve in December 2018, has started straying close to to agricultural fields and human habitation in Gudalur, posing a another challenge.

Like Rivaldo, a radio collar was fixed on Vinayaga before it was released, but the animal managed to free itself and the forest department lost track of him.

Recently, Vinayaga was spotted in the region. The animal entered the forest at around 5 am after spending the whole night in the village, targeting places where rice is stored apart from damaging coconut trees and banana plantations.

"Three roof-tiled houses in Echanmvayal, Odakolli and Kuniyal coming under the Sri Madurai Panchayat were damaged in the last two years by Vinayaga. Despite attempts by forest officials to prevent its entry into human habitation, the animal continues to target agricultural land. Most of the residents are into selling milk and they are scared to venture out early in the morning, though Vinayaga has not attacked humans so far ," said R Sunil, President of the Sri Madurai Panchayat

"We will sleep peacefully only when Vinayaga is captured and taken care of by the forest department," he added.

On the other hand, Chinnathambi, which was captured at Kannadipudur near Udumalai in February 2019 and put in a kraal, has started mingling with other elephants upon his release in Kozhikamuthi in January this year

Sources said he is following the commands of mahouts and kavadis.

"He has become so obedient that we plan to use him in the operation to fix a collar on Bahubali along with kumki elephants. The animal cooperated well even when samples were collected from him for Covid tests," said sources in ATR.



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