Makhna released near Top Slip treks back to Pollachi villages
COIMBATORE: A crop-raiding ‘makhna’ elephant, which was captured in Palacode in Dharmapuri district and released into forest area in Varagaliyar near Top Slip in Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR) on February 6, entered residential areas in Pollachi on Tuesday.
It was captured by tranquilization, with the help of ‘kumki’ Chinnathambi after farmers from Eachampallam and surrounding villages in Dharmapuri suffered extensive damages due to frequent crop raids. Two teams of the Forest Department constantly tracked the elephant to examine the foraging habits of the makhna in its new habitat.
After more than two weeks, the makhna trekked down the hills for more than 40 kms through Kozhikamuthi, Ambuli and Semmanampathi to enter into villages in Semmedu, Ramanathapuram, Ramapattinam and Devampadivalas in Pollachi.
A team of anti-poaching watchers closely followed the movement of the elephant, while Vadakkipalayam police took precautionary measures and advised vehicle riders on Vadakkipalayam Road to stay cautious. Yet a large number of villagers gathered near Govindanur to watch and click photos of the elephant crossing the arterial road to reach the other side.
People refused to leave, despite caution by the Forest Department. Tense moments prevailed when the elephant suddenly headed towards the crowd and people ran helter-skelter for safety. After a long and tiresome trek, the elephant, which moved into the Kalathur village, slept off.
Field Director of ATR S Ramasubramanian visited the spot and held discussions with senior officials on the strategy to be adopted in driving back the elephant into the forest area. He said that the elephant has so far not been involved in any conflict with human beings and efforts were being taken to drive the elephant into Madukkarai forest area.
“As the elephant is moving through villages, an alert has been sounded to villagers not to come out during night,” Ramasubramanian said.
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