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“Arikomban Thrives in KMTR: 75 Days of Safety, Health, and Adaptation”

After nearly four months and two translocations, the wild tusker named Arikomban appears to be adjusting comfortably to his new home at the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, a distance of over 300 kilometers from his original territory in Idukki’s Chinnakanal.

The Conservator of Forests & Field Director of Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR) stated, “Arikomban is in good health and has acclimated well since his release in KMTR approximately 75 days ago,” in a recent press release.

Reports indicate that Arikomban had initially wandered away from a group of elephants after forming a bond with them in Pudurnadu.

The Deputy Director of Kalakad Division and the frontline team observed the tusker on August 19 and 20 at Upper Kodayar. The team reported that the tusker is lively and in excellent health, observed foraging at the dam site. Continuous monitoring of his movement through the radio collar’s signals is ongoing, with other elephant herds also present nearby.

Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary of Environment, Climate Change, and Forests in Tamil Nadu, shared Arikomban’s details on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).

Before this update, Tamil Nadu had released images and videos of the tusker on four occasions following his relocation. The pause in releases sparked concerns about Arikomban’s well-being.

Arikomban initially gained national attention when he was captured in Chinnakanal on April 29. He had caused significant distress to the region through frequent incursions into human settlements, resulting in human casualties.

The tusker’s name, Arikomban, stems from his fondness for rice, combining two Malayalam words, “ari” (rice) and “komban” (tusker). Initially, the Kerala forest department moved Arikomban to the Periyar Tiger Reserve, but he made his way to Tamil Nadu’s Cumbum area.

Subsequently, the Tamil Nadu government launched a second translocation operation on June 5, relocating Arikomban to the Upper Kodayar forest area within Tirunelveli’s Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve (KMTR). The Kodayar forest area is situated in Agasthyarkoodam on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.

His movement is being tracked through radio collar signals at the Periyar Tiger Sanctuary. The Kerala forest department also receives updates about his movements from the Kanyakumari Divisional Forest Officer.

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