The death of Thanneer Komban, the radio-collared wild elephant captured from Mananthavady in Wayanad district of Kerala, has stirred controversy and raised serious questions on what happened to the wild jumbo.
Thanneer Komban, named after its penchant for breaking water pipes to quench its thirst, was captured from Mananthavady and subsequently transferred to the Ramapura elephant camp in the Bandipur tiger reserve on February 2nd. Tragically, the wild jumbo passed away the following day.
Preliminary examinations of the elephant's body revealed wounds and signs of infection. Reports also suggest respiratory complications suffered by the animal.
The operation that led to Thanneer Komban's capture and subsequent death involved the joint efforts of the Karnataka Forest Department and the Kerala Forest Department. The elephant, originally hailing from Hassan district, Karnataka, had been radio-collared as part of Operation Jumbo, an initiative aimed at tracking and conserving wild elephants in the region.
The circumstances surrounding the elephant's capture and transit have raised serious concerns. Allegations have emerged regarding the use of multiple tranquilizers during the capture, which may not have followed proper procedures. Additionally, eyewitnesses reported that the elephant was pushed into the transport vehicle by kumki elephants for an extended period, further raising questions about the handling of the operation.
Kerala Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran addressed the media, asserting that there were no procedural lapses in the transit of the wild elephant. However, he acknowledged the shocking nature of the elephant's demise and announced an inquiry into the matter.
"A five-member panel comprising experts from various fields, including vigilance, veterinary science, animal welfare NGOs, and legal experts, will be constituted to investigate the death of the elephant," stated Minister A.K. Saseendran.
The necropsy, conducted jointly by officials from Kerala and Karnataka, is expected to shed light on the circumstances leading to Thanneer Komban's tragic demise.