Putting an end to wild elephant Chinnathambi’s free run, the Madras High Court has given an interim order to capture the animal. The case, which came up for its final hearing on Wednesday, saw the Tamil Nadu government stating that it had a duty to protect its people, apart from protecting elephants.
The government added that since Chinnathambi was an elephant which was used to eating agricultural produce, there was no need to send it back to the forest. The government also assured the court that the elephant would be well taken care of inside the camp.
Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad gave the order almost a week after Arun Prasanna G, a wildlife activist, filed a petition. The judges ordered that while being captured, the government must not torture or hurt the animal in any manner and directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests to take a decision if Chinnathambi has to be sent to the forest or to the camp. The judges also said that further orders on where to house Chinnathambi permanently will be delivered later.
The case, which came up for hearing on Tuesday, saw the government of Tamil Nadu arguing that since Chinnathambi keeps coming inside the villages, it will not be of any use to send him the forest again. The government further presented the inputs of the elephant expert Ajay Desai, who had inspected Chinnathambi on February 5 and prepared a report of recommendations based on his inspection. In his report, Ajay Desai had stated that since Chinnathambi’s behaviour has toned down, it would be difficult to send him back to the forest. Ajay Desai had also recommended that the department capture the pachyderm and let it thrive in the elephant camp.
The petition was filed based on the comments of Tamil Nadu Forest Minister Dindigul Srinivasan, who told the media that Chinnathambi will be captured and converted into a kumki elephant. Chinnathambi was captured by the forest department and released into Anamalai forest range near Topslip in the last week of January. But days after it was sent into the forest, Chinnathambi entered the villages near Pollachi in Coimbatore district and has been roaming around in that area. Recently, the jumbo was spotted near Madathukulam, near Udumalaipettai in Tiruppur district.