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Wild elephant from Karnataka strays into Kerala town, captured after 16 hours

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NewsDrum Desk
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Wayanad (Kerala), Feb 2 (PTI) A wild elephant, from neighbouring Karnataka, which on Friday strayed into the heart of Mananthavady town in this district and created panic in the area, was captured more than 16 hours after it entered Kerala.

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The elephant, called Thanneer Komban, was darted twice before being loaded onto a truck with the help of kumki elephants for being transported to Bandipur in Karnataka.

Four attempts were made to dart the elephant and two of them were successful, according to a senior forest official.

As it grew dark, by the time the elephant was tranquilised, forest officials had to press JCBs into service for clearing a path from the banana plantation where the pachyderm was standing to the truck waiting for it.

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A huge crowd was gathered in the area, as it grew dark, to watch the elephant being brought to the truck.

Besides locals, forest and police personnel were also present in large numbers to ensure the operation was carried out safely and smoothly.

After around 10 pm, the pachyderm was loaded onto the truck with the help of several forceful pushes from the kumki elephants.

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‘Kumki’ elephants are captive pachyderms used in operations for trapping and capturing other elephants.

The Forest official said they received permission to tranquilise the elephant only at around 2pm, more than eight hours after it strayed into Mananthavady town and created panic there.

Subsequently, it took them another four hours to dart the pachyderm as it kept moving around between the banana plantations near the town, the official said.

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Reports of the elephant straying into the town reached the forest officials after 6 am and since then Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) of the Forest Department kept track of the pachyderm.

Following the development, state Forest Minister A K Saseendran said that the elephant, wearing a radio collar, came from Karnataka and therefore, the Wayanad Collector has been asked to seek the help of authorities from that state to solve the issue.

Saseendran also said that children who had already reached schools were asked to remain there and those who have not, were asked to stay home.

Prohibitory orders were also issued in the area by the district administration.

The elephant was calm and composed throughout and did not attack anyone or cause any major property damage. PTI HMP HMP SS

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