One elephant herd chased back into forest

Officials of the Forest and Wildlife Department on Tuesday drove back into the forest one of the two herds of wild elephants that had strayed into human habitations in Meppadi and Chundale areas in the district.

The operation was initiated after the death of two persons in separate attacks by wild elephants at Kunnampetta and Elambilery under the Meppadi forest range of the South Wayanad forest division recently.

Threat to public

There are two herds of elephants, one with six animals, including a tusker, and a seven-member herd with two tuskers. In addition, a lone tusker has been posing a threat to the public in Elambilery, Chundale, and Kunnampetta areas for the past many weeks.

“We drove away the six-member herd to the Thollayiram section of the forest on the border of the South Wayanad and Nilambur forest divisions from a human habitation at Kunnampetta around 5 p.m. and we have been chasing the seven-member herd to Elambilery forest from Chembra School Kunnu,” N.K. Shameer, forest range officer, Meppadi range, said.

“We are planning to drive them back to the Thollayiram section of the forest on Wednesday,” Mr. Shameer, said. It took nearly eight hours to chase the pachyderms into the forest by bursting crackers and sounding huge drums and firing 12-bore pump action guns.

Two teams of frontline forest staff, a team comprising 40 members each, led by K. Ashif, forest range officer, Rapid Response Team; K. Jose, forest range officer, Kalpetta range; and Mr. Shameer participated in the operation.

“The lone elephant has been under observation near a human habitation at Kunnampetta and it will be driven out into the forest in the coming days,” he said.

South Wayanad forest divisional officer B. Ranjith Kumar supervised the operations.

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