Chinnathambi, who had been translocated by forest officials in Tamil Nadu in January for raiding fields in Coimbatore, had traveled nearly 100km in an attempt to return to its herd.

Chinnathambi has befriended kumki elephants not disturbing people TN forest officer
news Wildlife Monday, February 04, 2019 - 14:08

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, “Chinnathambi has been eating food and sleeping well. He’s in a secluded location inside the Amaravati sugar mill in the district.”

The jumbo also appears to have befriended the two kumki elephants that had been dispatched to Chinnathambi’s current spot to guide him back to the forest, said Dileep. “The kumki elephants are in place and Chinnathambi has befriended those elephants, so as of now, there is no problem. He’s not disturbing anyone, and the people not disturbing either,” 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’s 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’s statement had, however, triggered public outrage with several people urging the government to leave the animal alone, using #SaveChinnathambi. 

Read: What is the way out of elephant-human conflicts in TN? Experts weigh in

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