Chinnathambi, the elephant in Tamil Nadu which was translocated for raiding crops in Coimbatore but had managed to travel nearly 100kms in the last few days in an attempt to return to its herd, is presently in a secluded location. Speaking to TNM, the District Forest Officer of Tiruppur district, Dileep said, ‚ÄúChinnathambi has been eating food and sleeping well. He‚Äôs in a secluded location inside the Amaravati sugar mill in the district.‚ÄĚ
The jumbo also appears to have befriended the two kumki elephants that had been dispatched to Chinnathambi‚Äôs current spot to guide him back to the forest, said Dileep. ‚ÄúThe kumki elephants are in place and Chinnathambi has befriended those elephants, so as of now, there is no problem. He‚Äôs not disturbing anyone, and the people not disturbing either,‚ÄĚ the DFO said.
Once the jumbo exits the secluded area, kumki elephants will drive him back to the forest, added Dileep.
Chinnathambi was translocated from the Thadagam region on the outskirts of Coimbatore, after he was found trampling on crops and causing damage for nearly a year. Following this, forest officials decided to tranquilise Chinnathambi, capture him and then release him into the wilderness.
Although he was translocated on January 26 and released in the forest areas near Valparai, he then ventured towards a village near Pollachi. The tusker has been fitted with a radio collar, and covered over 100 km in an attempt to return to Thadagam, and is in Tiruppur district.
Earlier, when news of Chinnathambi‚Äôs movements spread, Forest Minister Dindugal Sreenivasan had said that the government has a larger role to protect the lives of the people and their agricultural fields, and that there was no option but to capture him and tame him to be used as a kumki.
The minister‚Äôs statement had, however, triggered public outrage with several people urging the government to leave the animal alone, using #SaveChinnathambi.