Apparently proving the saying that old habits die hard, Rivaldo, an elephant recently released into the wild in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in Nilgiris district returned to Mavanallah near his old habitat.
Rivaldo, named after the famous Brazilian footballer, with trunk injuries was roaming in the village for the last nine years and having home-made food from the household, was captured and put into a kraal (elephant shelter) three months ago.
After a hue and cry from NGOs and wildlife activists, the elephant was released from the kraal and transported to the anti-poaching camp in Chikkala in MTR on Monday last, after providing necessary treatment as directed by the Madras High Court.
However, the villagers reportedly noticed Rivaldo moving around their area in the wee hours of Wednesday, about 40 kms from the camp and alerted the forest department officials.
Though the elephant was radio-collared, the movement of Rivaldo could not be traced, may be due to rains and clouds, Forest department sources said.
The department, in turn, alerted the Vazhathotttam villagers not to provide food to the tusker or try to go near it, they said.
The future course of action will be decided after discussing with an eight-member panel, the sources said.