Thiruvananthapuram: A baby elephant that landed on the banks of Karumpuzha river following the floods near Karulai, Nilambur recently, is yet to go back to the forest and join its herd.
Animal right activists have alleged that the forest department was planning to relocate it to the elephant protection centre at Kottoor, Thiruvananthapuram. They said it should be kept in the forest at least for a month so that the elephant herd will take it back to their fold.
The baby elephant was spotted by the locals after landslides occurred at Nilambur last Wednes-day. The forest officials located the herd at Sankarangode. Mr Suren-drakumar, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, told DC that they tried twice to reunite the baby elephant with its herd, but failed.
The forest officials at Nilambur are now taking care of it, he said.
It may be recalled that in May last, a two-year-old calf got separated from its herd at Chinnakkanal near Munnar. As its mother was found dead at Marappalam near Chinn-akkanal, the orphan elephant was transferred to the elephant rehabilitation centre at Kottur.
Forest veterinary surgeon Dr. C. S. Jayakumar named it ‘Chinna’ after Chinnakanal. But it died after a few days.
Sreedevi S. Kartha of People for Animals told DC that forest officials were planning to bring the Nilambur elephant to Kottur as a ‘showpiece’ to attract tourists.
“The fate of Chinna should not fall on the baby elephant. The forest department should ensure that the herd takes back the baby elephant in its fold. They should wait for a few months to see it happen,” said Sreedevi.
She alleged that the forest department was keen to develop the elephant rehabilitation centre at Kottur as a tourist destination.
But Surendrakumar denied the PFA’s claims and said the baby elephant was doing well.
“We don’t have any space to lodge it in any rehabilitation centre belonging to the forest department. Chinna was very weak and it died under tragic circumstances. But the Nilambur elephant is healthy and it will stay in the forest,” he added....