COIMBATORE: Officials of Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) barred entry of tourists to Chinna Kallar and Nirar dams in Valparai after a makhna elephant, which was relocated to Chinnakallar, was found roaming in the area. The forest department officials have advised local people in Cincona to travel with caution.
Officials said the animal used to be inside the tea plantation but is now spotted on the road. To prevent the entry of outsiders, the forest department staff are checking and allowing residents only after verifying their Aadhaar and other identity cards.
“The animal is active after 4 pm and up to 12 am and roams in and around Nirar dam, where there is plenty of bamboo, which is its favourite food. The area is lush green due to the incessant rain it got the last month and the streams in the area have a good flow of water,” officials said. “A total of 15 staff are exclusively engaged in monitoring the animal and preventing it from going to the nearby residential area, which is just 2 km from Nirar dam,” they said.
The animal was released in the area after a radio collar was fixed which sends the location signals to the field director, deputy field director, two forest range officers and representatives of WWF that provided the collar, every hour on their mobile phones.
“So far, the animal has travelled for more than 85 km, from where it was released, and except for tea estate workers' quarters, the animal did not go to any other residential area. Unlike the plains, where the animal has plenty of options available to consume banana plantation, mangoes, and hybrid coconut tree leaves, it can only consume bamboo here,” the officials added. They further said they thought that the animal had gone into Kerala, but it has returned to Tamil Nadu.