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Jumbo calf caught again as it strays into house

Just two days after it was released into the wild, the four-year-old male calf was once again captured by the Forest Department in the early hours of Sunday as it strayed into a house in Aadhimadhayanur near the Ansur Forest check post in Coimbatore District.

Jumbo calf caught again as it strays into house
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The calf being led into a truck by forest department personnel

Coimbatore

District Forest Officer (DFO) of Coimbatore Division S Ramasubramaniam told DTNext that on March 14 the calf with an inflammation in the mouth was captured as it was continuously raiding shops and houses for food near the brick kilns at Thadagam. When it showed signs of improvement, it was released in the Perumpallam Forest on the banks of a river on April 14. 

“Perumpallam in Karamadai Range had good water and fodder sources. We did not release it near Mangarai and Thadagam where its herd was roaming. The calf’s mother stood guard when it raided shops and houses,” the DFO said. 

However, around 3 am on Sunday, the elephant walked more than 20 kilometres from where it was released in the forest and entered Aadhimadhayanur hamlet. Drawn by the smell of jackfruit in the house of a farmer Murugan it broke open the door and feasted on the fruits there. 

“Murugan and his wife Poovathal ran into the next room and went out of the house by breaking open the roof. While the calf did not intend to hurt humans it got used to the life of a raider. We got information around 3.30 am and rushed to the spot to study the ground situation,” Ramasubramainam said. The incident was reported to the Chief Wildlife Warden and on his direction efforts began to capture the calf once again. A team of 25 forest personnel, including rangers, watchers, guards and elephant men reached the village around 9.30 am with ropes, equipment and a truck to capture and relocate it.

The operation that began around 10 am went on till 2.40 pm when senior wildlife veterinary officer NS Manoharan sedated the calf that was roaming in the nearby mango grove using a tranquilizer gun. Around 3.40 pm it was taken inside the special truck and set off for a more than 100 km journey to the elephant camp at Varakaliyar close to the Kerala border, near Topslip. 

It will be lodged in a Kral (widen structure to cage wild elephants). Senior department officials said that a decision on giving the calf a second chance to remain a wild animal or to train it to become a Kumki will be taken by the Chief Wildlife Warden and Field Director of Anamalai Tiger Reserve.

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