The rogue elephant that had struck terror in hearts of residents in the outskirts of Coimbatore has been released into the reserve forest at Anaikundhi near the Varagaliyar elephant camp. It was captured by the forest department in a nine-hour operation after it killed four people and injured four others on Friday.
According to The News Indian Express, the forest department deployed over 20 anti-poaching watchers led by a forest ranger at the Anaikundhi area to monitor the tusker. It was first reportedly decided that the animal would be kept in a krawl, a wooden enclosure where captured wild elephants are confined for training. However, after discussion with forest department officials and Minister Dindugul C Srinivasan, it was decided that they would release the animal into the reserve.
The elephant was released around 11.30 pm in the night, on the day it was captured. The 18-year-old animal, which had come out in search of food and water, first broke into the house of a priest, Vijaykumar and attacked his daughter. 12-year-old Gayathri died on the spot.
After this, the elephant attacked people sleeping on the road. A man named Nagaraj has sustained injuries on his leg. Four more people were injured by the elephant.
It is said that the elephant lost its way and walked around for 12 kilometers.
There have been constant man-animal conflicts in Coimbatore region. Conservationists say that as more and more forest land is being taken up by humans, elephants and other animals are confused about where to go in search of water, and end up in human habitations.