Crop-raider makhna elephant caught for third time, let off into the wild 

Makhna released near Valparai; site chosen due to abundant availability of fodder, water
A four-member veterinarian team shot the sedative dart around 4.30 am on Monday when the animal was on a flat terrain | Express
A four-member veterinarian team shot the sedative dart around 4.30 am on Monday when the animal was on a flat terrain | Express

COIMBATORE:  For the third time in six months, the Tamil Nadu forest department tranquilised and captured a crop raider makhna elephant at Saralapathy near Pollachi in the early hours of Monday and released it in Chinnakallar near Valparai.

A four-member veterinarian team comprising A Sugumar of Coimbatore, E Vijayaragavan of Anamalai Tiger Reserve and Sadasivam of Sathymangalam Tiger Reserve (STR) and K Rajesh Kumar of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) shot the sedative dart around 4.30 am when the animal was on a flat terrain.

S Ramasubramanian, Conservator of forests and Field Director of ATR said, “The elephant was tranquilised in the first attempt, and blood and dung samples of the animal were collected for analysis. The animal has been relocated deep inside the ATR after veterinarians certified it to be fit.

The release site was chosen due to abundant availability of fodder and water.” Soon after the sedative was administrated, a few tribal people, who are experts in handling such animals, tied up the animal’s legs with a rope with the help of kumki elephants.

“The animal was captured as it was frequently damaging crops,” an official said. “A small abscess in the leg that had been troubling it for the last six months was treated on Monday. The animal is out of sedation and is healthy. The radio collar is emitting signals,” he added.

The department first captured and relocated the animal to Varagaliyar from Dharmapuri in February. It came out of the forest and reached Perur outskirts after walking close to 90 km. It was captured and released in Manombolly forest for the second time. But the animal managed to come out of the forest and reached Saralapathy.

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