‘Operation Arikomban’: Kerala HC rejects Forest dept plea to capture elephant

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Kochi (Kerala) [India], March 29 : Kerala High Court on Wednesday rejected the plea by the Forest Department to tranquilise and capture Arikomban, an elephant which has been known to stray into civilian areas in Chinnakkanal and other areas, and directed that it be kept in captivity at the Kodanadu elephant camp.
The court asked the Forest Department to track the elephant, tranquilise it and then tie a radio collar around its neck to track its movement.
Earlier, the high court had ordered the suspension of ‘Operation Arikomban’ (to capture the elephant), till Wednesday.
The high court observed that capturing the elephant was the last resort, as it suggested that alternative methods should be explored to keep it from straying into neighbourhoods. There are other ways like attaching a collar and tracking the elephant, the court noted.
The Forest department and Idukki district administration had arranged 11 units of Rapid Response Team, comprising 71 officers, to capture the wild elephant in Idukki. Elaborate arrangements were in place to capture Arikomban after it inflicted damage to properties in Munnar and other nearby areas of Kerala.

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