Kochi | Tusker Thanneer Komban, which spread scare roaming across Mananthavady in Wayanad on Friday and died early Saturday on way during relocation to Karnataka, had severe injuries even before it was tranquilized.
While the post mortem report is awaited, insiders involved with the operation said the radio-collared tusker, tranquilized by the Karnataka forest officials barely two months ago, exhibited notable weakness and struggled with feeding.
As per accounts from those involved in the Mananthavady operation, the tusker bore wounds on both its front and back limbs. It also had a deep wound near its genitalia in the lower abdomen, hindering its ability to urinate properly.
The tranquilizing of the tusker was done adhering to established protocol and the dose was meticulously determined after high-level consultations, they said. The feeble elephant seemed to have ventured into Wayanad along with a herd to Wayanad. While the herd went back, the tusker found itself isolated and was left to fend for itself. Hindered by its ability to feed adequately and impeded in movement by the injuries, Thanneer remained within the confines, facilitating the darting process.
An official involved in the operation said the injury could have been inflicted during the elephant’s previous tranquilization operation in Karnataka, where it was subsequently sent back to the forest with the help of kumki elephants. The lower abdomen wound could have been deep and this could be testified only after the post mortem. The official emphasized that, in accordance with the protocol, the wounds should have been promptly treated when first identified. Eyewitnesses attested that the tusker encountered difficulties in urination, potentially linked to the lower abdomen injury. Karnataka forest officials acknowledged the presence of injuries on the tusker.
The tusker’s casually strolling into the town instilled fear among the local residents and prompted authorities to enforce Section 144 in the vicinity. Remarkably feeble, the elephant displayed an unusual lack of reaction, remaining indifferent even when crackers were detonated within a mere 5-meter proximity – a departure from the typical responsive behaviour exhibited by wild animals.
Moreover, the scorching daytime temperatures and the tusker's prolonged exposure to the elements, coupled with its insufficient intake of sustenance, likely contributed to its deteriorating physical state. This adverse combination possibly led to dehydration and heightened bodily stress for the already weakened elephant.