Jumbo Chinnathambi released from kraal in Anamalai Tiger Reserve

Coimbatore: Chinnathambi, a rogue elephant, translocated from Thadagam here to Varagaliyar, completed his 132-day training and came out of the kraal in Anamalai Tiger Reserve.

Though the elephant was frequenting and raiding crops in and around Thadagam, the villagers never wanted Chinnathambi to be captured. However, the forest department officials captured it on 16 January after six-month-long efforts and taken to Varagaliyar camp.

Based on a petition, Madras High Court had ordered to place the elephant in the camp. Even after capturing and radio-collaring and taken to Varagaliyar, the elephant moved around Udumalpet in Tirupur district and camped in a sugarcane field, treading nearly 110 km.

After recapturing it, it was put in a kraal and given five months training. After completion of the training, the elephant was released from the kraal Friday evening and is under strict vigil and monitor its movement with other elephants in the camp for a week.

He is likely to be shifted to another elephant camp in Kozhikamudhi in the Reserve, where nearly 20 elephants are existing, forest department sources said Saturday. The 25-year-old Chinnathambi was given basic training and also to obey orders from the mahouts during the training, which he has completed ‘successfully,’ the source said.

The issue surrounding the rogue elephant led to a legal battle between the Tamilnadu government and wildlife activists over capturing and turning the elephant into a kumki (tame). Finally, the Madras High Court gave nod to capture, without harming it and tame Chinnathambi.

After the operations, two darts were administered to the elephant which started moving crisscross under the influence of the sedative, forest department sources said. With the help of two kumkis and an earthmover, the pachyderm was loaded onto a lorry, after the operation which lasted nearly seven hours, they said.

The elephant would again be taken again to Varagaliyar camp and most likely kept there for taming purpose, they said. The first time Chinnathambi was tranquilised, captured and translocated from Thadagam to Varagaliyar forests was on 25 January, following complaints of destruction of crops and attack on humans by the rogue tusker.