Capture Chinna Thambi and train it: Expert to TN Govt

In his report, which was accessed by DH, Desai says 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.

Chinna Thambi, the translocated elephant that hit headlines last week, should be captured and brought into “captivity and trained like all other elephants” in a camp as the jumbo shows no signs of going back into the forests, a wildlife expert has suggested to the Tamil Nadu government.

Ajay Desai, a consultant to the WWF-India, submitted a 14-page report to the Tamil Nadu Wildlife Department after visiting the elephant at its current location on February 5. The Tamil Nadu Government, which has decided to accept the report, told the Madras High Court on Monday that the only option before it was to capture Chinna Thambi and train it like all elephants in an elephant camp.

The government’s submission came before a bench which was 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. During the last hearing, the government gave an assurance that it will not turn Chinna Thambi into a kumki (trained elephant that is used to tame unruly jumbos).

The elephant, which had been venturing into villages very often due to encroachments in the Elephant Corridor, was captured and translocated near Top Slip 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.

In his report, which was accessed by DH, Desai says 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.

“All these behaviours clearly indicate, as assessed in the earlier report that this elephant does not distinguish between human use areas (agriculture and settlement) and forests. They are all same to this elephant,” he said in the report.

He said options, like driving the elephant to the nearest forest and translocating it another habitat would not work as taking up the first option would pose danger to people along the way as this elephant does not move in the direction of the forest and can change direction at any time.

“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 said in his report.

He further said this seems the only option open to the department even “though this adds to the cost of elephant establishment of the department it is the best option, especially as it is completely habituated to people and is likely to become tame very easily.”

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Capture Chinna Thambi and train it: Expert to TN Govt

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