Amid outrage among locals, TN forest dept chasing away wild elephant into deep forests

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Chennai: After strong protests by the people in the Gudalur area in Nilgiris district, the Tamil Nadu forest department is chasing away a tuskless male elephant, also knwon as ‘Makhna’, into the deep forests in the Madumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR).

Forest officials of MTR told IANS that the elephant, which is around 40 years old, has not yet posed threat to humans. But of late, there have been complaints from the local people that elephants have been creating havoc in their agricultural lands, causing damage to crops.

While the Makhna has not been antagonistic towards human beings, recently it destroyed three farm lands, causing extensive damage to crops.

A senior official of the forest department told IANS, “People have launched a campaign in Gudalur and other areas of Nilgiris to drive this elephant into the forest. Even though we know that it’s a harmless elephant, we have now decided to chase it into the deep forest land in the MTR area.”

The official said that the forest department is driving the elephant into deep forests taking into account the safety of the tusker.

It is to be noted here that the Palakkad Tusker 7 (PT7), which had killed a morning walker and damaged crops extensively in the Dhoni area in Palakkad district in Kerala, was captured a few days back by the Kerala forest department. Medical check-up showed that 15 pellets were fired at it from air guns.

Kerala Forest Minister A.K. Saseendran had said that farmers should not resort to such cruel acts against elephants.

Tamil Nadu forest department officials are hence driving the Makhna into the deep forests to prevent it from the wrath of the local people.

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( With inputs from )

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