The tusker, aged around 15 years was habituated to raid crops in farms spread over in multiple villages located abutting the forest areas in Pennagaram in Dharmapuri district. As the animal kept retreating, even after driving back into deep forests, the Forest Department decided to relocate the elephant. The elephant was administered with sedation and captured by a team on Wednesday.
The jumbo was then released into the wild at Asuvaramattam early on Thursday morning. “The elephant, which appears docile, is under constant monitoring by a team of anti-poaching watchers. Water wouldn’t be a problem for the elephant as it was let near a pond created by the Forest Department. The 50,000 litre capacity pond also has a solar powered borewell,” said an official of the Forest Department.
However, wild life activists claimed that the animal may find it tough to adapt to the new terrain. “The Segur has steep valleys and an elephant captured from the Eastern Ghats with certain characteristics can’t adjust itself to the entirely different habitat in the Western Ghats. The animal could have been released in some plains,” said Manoj Ram, a wildlife activist from Tirupur.
Manoj claimed that a wild elephant translocated last from Hosur to Segur forest range in MTR in July last year died of complications arising from a fall while drinking water because of its lack of knowledge of the new habitat.
However, the Forest Department claimed that the animal has been released in a place which is not steep and undulating. “This animal can easily adapt to its new habitat. Even if the elephant translocated from Hosur previously had slipped to death, it has nothing to do with the hills,” said the official.