The District Forest Officer told TNM that teams from the TN Forest Department are watching the movements of the elephant, and are ready to drive it into the forest.

Tusker that killed 2 in Coimbatore still at large scared villagers call it MaranamImage for representation
news Wildlife Thursday, August 22, 2019 - 12:22

The scared villagers of Pannimadai in Coimbatore, who bore witness to the fatal atrocities of an elephant, have named the tusker ‘Maranam’, meaning death in Tamil. Though intrusion of elephants from the forest ranges of Coimbatore into the villages is nothing new, ‘Maranam’ has been named so after it left two men dead in separate incidents in nearby villages in the last ten days.

The first victim of the tusker was an inebriated truck driver, Ganesh (27), who was attacked near Pannimadai village on Sunday night. He was allegedly taking a walk on the road after consuming alcohol when the incident happened. Though he was rushed to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, he did not respond to treatment and died there.

A day later, the elephant struck a 36-year-old Premadas, who was consuming liquor with his friend Vignesh in the border area of the forest in Kathirnaickenpalayam. While the elephant chased the duo, Premadas was attacked by the tusker. The man died on the spot while Vignesh escaped with minor injuries.

Speaking to TNM about, Gopalsamy, a villager in Pannimadai said that the tusker has indeed spread fear among the villagers. “Most people in our village are daily wage labourers, who return home late in the night. Now we are scared to step outside after nightfall,” he said.

Gopalsamy added that the forest officials, who have been apprised of the issue, are trying their best as well. “If they drive it into the forest on one side, it comes out on the other side. What more will they do? They do come to the spot immediately after we call them. The name ‘Maranam’ was kept by the villagers because it has taken the lives of two men and seems like a rough animal,” Gopalsamy said.

D Venkatesh, the District Forest Officer of Coimbatore Forest Division told TNM that teams from the Tamil Nadu Forest Department are watching the movements of the elephant, and are ready to drive it into the forest. “It hasn't come out of hiding the last two nights. It is close to the forest boundary, and our elephant drivers are experts at sending animals back to forests. They are constantly watching the tracks,” he said.

Explaining the move, he said that it is the department’s practice to inculcate negative conditioning to elephants. “If we adopt this concept, the elephant will get used to the fact that it is not allowed to venture outside into the village freely, and will gradually stop visiting that area. It is on this basis we have deployed teams to watch it, and drive it back when it comes out,” he added.

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