Operations continue to capture two wild elephants in the Nilgiris

Forest Dept. to construct temporary kraal for Rivaldo in MTR buffer zone

The Forest Department will construct a temporary kraal (elephant enclosure) in Mavanallah in the buffer zone of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) to contain the elephant, Rivaldo, and train it to become a captive elephant.

Forest officials said as there were plans to bring the two elephants – Rivaldo and Shankar – to Theppakadu and there was only one kraal, it had been decided to build a temporary kraal in Mavanallah, which was the 40-year-old Rivaldo’s habitat.

“We will build the kraal in the coming days, and we expect that Rivaldo will need to be tamed for a month as he is already a very docile animal. After he is trained, we can bring him to the Theppakadu Elephant Camp where he can be kept as a captive elephant,” said K.K. Kaushal, Field Director, MTR.

Rivaldo was tracked down after he gave the slip to the forest staff on Thursday. However, efforts to capture him would be made only after the kraal was built, Mr. Kaushal said.

Though Rivaldo had no ailment, his general health condition suggested that he could not be left to continue as a wild elephant.

Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on the department to capture Shankar, another elephant in Gudalur that has been blamed for the killing of three persons in Gudalur last year.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, I. Anwardeen, said three kumki elephants, including an elephant known as Srinivas, had been brought to Gudalur to assist in capturing Shankar.

“It has been known that Srinivas used to have a strong bond with Shankar. All three elephants are being kept away from the capture site to safeguard against Shankar being spooked, which could lead to his fleeing to neighbouring Kerala,” said Mr. Anwardeen.

Veterinarians and the team assigned to capture the elephant had already reached the spot near Cherambadi in Pandalur where the elephant had been spotted.

Mr. Anwardeen said co-operation of the local police had been sought in ensuring that people in the surrounding areas did not unnecessarily venture out of their homes.

The district administration had also promised that steps would be taken to close Tasmac shops till the operation was over.

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