The elephant, aged around 20 years, has last year slipped into the Kerala forests even after being shot with the tranquiliser. The capturing operations resumed when it re-entered Tamil Nadu on February 4. Once again, the elephant went evasive despite administered with tranquiliser shots a few days ago.
On Friday, the Forest Department lured the animal to a suitable terrain with fruits. “When the herd came to consume the fruits, a team comprising Forest veterinary officer, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, K Ashokan and veterinarians E Vijayaraghavan and Rajesh Kumar darted the animal twice with a heavy dose of tranquilisers.
As the elephant came under the influence of sedation, the Forest Department officials deployed kumkis to drive away the herd comprising two females and a calf jumbo,” said an official.
Then the four kumkis Kalim, Sujay, Vijay and Srinivasan from Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) guided the elephant to a nearby suitable terrain to help the animal load into a vehicle.
Shankar is taken to Theppakadu Elephant Camp, where it will be lodged in a ‘krall’ and trained to become a captive elephant.
Interestingly, Srinivasan, one of the kumkis deployed in the operation, used to be in the company of Shankar while being in the wild. It was captured in 2016.
More than 100 staff of the Forest Department from Coimbatore and The Nilgiris, who were working on the mission to capture Shankar over the last nine days, heaved a sigh of relief.