Kerala forest officials struggle to tranquilise Wayanad jumbo; locals demand it be killed

As the state forest officials struggled to capture a radio-collared wild elephant which trampled a man to death last week in Mananthavady here, protests by local residents on Tuesday intensified with demands to shoot and kill the jumbo.
The Wayanad Jumbo - the elusive elephant to be tranquilised
The Wayanad Jumbo - the elusive elephant to be tranquilised

Wayanad (Kerala) | As the state forest officials struggled to capture a radio-collared wild elephant which trampled a man to death last week in Mananthavady here, protests by local residents on Tuesday intensified with demands to shoot and kill the jumbo.

Locals told media that prohibitory orders have been imposed in several areas of the high-range district for four days, schools are closed and it was impossible for people to venture out at any time of day.

"We cannot continue to live in fear like this. If they cannot tranquilise the elephant today, then we demand that the elephant be shot dead," the protesting locals said.

People took to the streets in some places in protest against the delay in capture of the elephant.

The forest officials had commenced the operation to capture the pachyderm on February 10, the same day that it had trampled the man-- Aji -- to death.

Locals said they do not believe that the forest officials would be able to tranquilise the elephant today.

"If they (officials) do not dart the jumbo today, we will not let them leave the area tonight," a local resident said.

Meanwhile, forest officials, including Rapid Response Teams (RRT), and three kumki elephants have been deployed in the area to aid in the wild jumbo's capture.

The state government had on Saturday announced Rs 10 lakh compensation and assured a job to a family member of Aji who was trampled to death by the elephant.

The CCTV visuals of the incident showed Aji and others trying to escape from the wild elephant and jumping into the compound of a house. However, the jumbo damaged the compound wall and chased the man.

Locals alleged that the elephant had crossed the Kerala border from Karnataka and reached Kuruvadweep locality near here on Saturday morning, but the Forest department had failed to announce this and warn the people from venturing out.

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