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Chakkakomban’s interference impedes operation to tranquilize rogue tusker Arikomban.

On Saturday, a special taskforce led by Dr. Arun Zachariah successfully tranquilised the rogue wild tusker Arikomban. The tusker will be relocated to the Periyar tiger reserve once it loses consciousness. However, the initial drug dosage failed to render the elephant unconscious despite two attempts. To aid in the translocation, four kumki elephants were brought to the site. Arikomban is currently moving away from the kumki elephants, making the operation challenging.

The presence of another tusker, Chakkakomban, is also proving to be a hassle to the officials. The GPS collar and the vehicle for transporting Arikomban are on standby. The Forest Department taskforce temporarily suspended Operation Arikomban on Friday but resumed its mission the next day.

The taskforce deployed 150 members in the Chinnakanal region and lured the elephant to the 301 colony area with crackers from a hilltop to tranquilise it. However, tranquilising the tusker was not possible in the rough terrain, according to forest officials. The tusker’s unexpected direction proved to be a tough challenge to the taskforce.

On Friday, Arikomban gave forest officials a miss but appeared in the Sankarapandyan mettu region after sunset. The elephant was spotted by forest watchers near a stream at Sankarapandyan mettu. Arikomban then travelled from Shankarapandya Mettu to 301 colony later at night, which is 8km away from Cement Palam, where tusker Chakkakomban was spotted on Friday.

The curfew imposed in Chinnakanal panchayat and wards 1, 2 and 3 of Shanthanpara continued on Saturday. As Dr. Arun Zachariah noted, ‘We are trying our best to tranquilise Arikomban and relocate it safely.’


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