Capture stray jumbo 'Chinna Thambi,' says Madras HC

Last Updated 13 February 2019, 20:01 IST

Chinna Thambi, the 25-year-old elephant which was translocated after it began venturing into agriculture fields, should be captured, the Madras High Court ruled on Wednesday.

The court said a decision on to keeping him in captivity or letting him into the forests can be taken later while hearing a petition filed by People For Cattle in India (PFCI) seeking to restrain the Forest department from capturing, taming, tranquillising or harming the wild elephant.

A bench of justices S Manikumar and Subramanium Prasad ordered the Forest Department officials to capture the elephant immediately – the government is likely to shift it to an elephant camp. The government, which maintained that it had to protect human lives like it does elephants, gave an undertaking that the jumbo would be taken care of.

The Tamil Nadu government had on Monday told the court that it had no option other than capturing Chinna Thambi since the jumbo failed to show any signs of going back to forest on its own.

The state government also quoted a report by Ajay Desai, a consultant to the WWF-India, that said the elephant is completely habituated to human beings as it does not react to people even when they are within 15 – 20 feet of it.

"The elephant should be captured and brought into captivity and trained like all other elephants in the forest department elephant camp where it can lead a semi-natural life and be a productive part of the conservation effort,” Desai had said in his report.

The bench apparently relied on the report by Desai in which he had suggested capturing and training Chinna Thambi seems the only option open before arriving at the decision.

The elephant, which had been venturing into villages very often due to enroachments on the elephant corridor, was captured and translocated near Top Slip in late January after it was fitted with a radio collar to track his location. The elephant is now camping near the Amaravathi Cooperative Sugar Mills at Krishnapuram near Udumalpet in Tiruppur district.

(Published 13 February 2019, 17:52 IST)

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