After an overnight journey in a specially designed ambulance, travelling in the districts abutting the western ghats, wild tusker Arikomban was freed in the forest of upper Kodayar in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district bordering Kerala.
The elephant’s health is fine, and his new habitat would ensure him plenty of water and good fodder, a senior forest department official said on Tuesday.
“Arikomban was released in the upper reach of Kodayar this morning. His health is absolutely fine,” Tamil Nadu Chief Wildlife Warden Srinivas R Reddy told PTI. Asked about the concerns of the people that the elephant might stray into human habitations, he replied “he has been left in the deep forest close to a waterbody with good fodder availability. Let’s hope he will not stray into habitation again.”
After he was tanquilised with two darts and captured on the morning of June 5 by a team of forest department officials and veterinarians, Arikomban was provided treatment initially. He was made to board the specially designed ambulance with the help of kumkis and travelled about 300 km from the hilly Theni district where he was captured.
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Enroute his journey through Madurai and Tirunelveli districts, he was given a shower to keep him cool in the sweltering summer.
A section of the people in Tirunelveli district staged a protest on June 5 against an alleged move by the forest department to release the elephant into the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve.