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Foresters’ dilemma ends, efforts on to treat ailing wild elephant stranded on Kerala-TN borders

Tamil Nadu sent two veterinarians and two ‘kumkis’, or trained elephants, to help the seemingly sick tusker. Kerala and Tamil Nadu officials are coordinating to ensure that the animal is safe.

According to Tamil Nadu officials, they have never seen an elephant before in the region. (Photo: Representational)

After a day-long dilemma over the jurisdiction issue of forest boundaries between Tamil Nadu and Kerala, an eight-year-old elephant, which was stranded in a waterbody near Coimbatore, finally received attention from the Tamil Nadu forest officials by Monday night. Tamil Nadu sent two veterinarians and two ‘kumkis’, or trained elephants, to aid the elephant that was seemingly in distress.

By Tuesday afternoon officials of the Coimbatore forest division confirmed that they were tracking the elephant.

The elephant that was reportedly sick was initially spotted near the banks of Kodungarai Pallam, an interstate stream that runs through the Kerala and Tamil Nadu forests, Monday morning, and hence forest officials from both the states were hesitant to come forward to rescue the jumbo due the confusion over the jurisdiction of the area.

The interstate stream is one of the major tributaries of the Bhavani river.

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The forest region bordering Tamil Nadu and Kerala, near Anaikatti, is one of the prominent elephant corridors in the region split between Tamil Nadu and Kerala forest boundaries.

After the news spread, animal lovers took up the issue and blamed the forest officials for delaying treatment for the wild elephant over legal concerns.

A visual of the elephant captured Monday morning showed that it was trying to drink water and spitting it out, triggering a concern that it had an injury in its mouth.

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T K Ashok Kumar, the district forest officer (DFO) of the Coimbatore division, said that treatment was given to the elephant and the movement of the animal was being closely monitored by a team led by two veterinarians. “Two ‘kumkis’ were also sent to the spot from the Anamalai Tiger Reserve, and they will be reaching the spot by Tuesday night. Both Kerala and Tamil Nadu officials are coordinating to ensure that the animal is safe,” he said.

According to Tamil Nadu officials, they have never seen an elephant before in the region. Before the tusker was moved from the Tamil Nadu forests to the Dasanurmedu near the Attapadi forest range, in Kerala, early on Tuesday morning, officials managed to feed the animal with fruits.

First published on: 16-08-2022 at 10:28:15 pm
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