COIMBATORE: Officials of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) launched a search operation for a wild elephant after a video of the tusker eating plastic waste (packaging material) went viral on social media.
This is the second incident in eight months where a wild elephant was seen ingesting plastic waste inside the forest. The video, allegedly shot inside the MTR and circulated by tourists, shows the tusker lifting the plastic cover from the grass and eating it. MTR Field Director D Venkatesh told TNIE that they are investigating with the field level staff to identify the location as well as the condition of the elephant as there is no landmark in the video.
“Ingesting plastic would harm the animal. Despite conducting awareness programmes frequently and seizing the plastic at check posts, tourists continue to sneak in with plastic and dump it inside the forest. Tourists should follow responsible tourism to ensure the forest is free of plastics,” Venkatesh added.
Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) issued a statement seeking an effective mechanism to prevent the use of plastics inside the forest. “The earth is not only for humans but for wild animals also. If the wild elephants continue to ingest plastic, it would endanger their lives. Apart from elephants, other animals like gaur and Sambar deer are also facing trouble due to discarded plastics,” said G Mayilsamy, State secretary, farmers wing of MNM.