A baby elephant, strayed from its herd after it lost its way, wandered into a town on the outskirts of Munnar in Kerala’s Idukki district on Wednesday. Situated in the Western Ghats, Munnar and its surrounding regions constitute major hill stations and tourist locations in the state, drawing in multitudes of honeymooners and families alike through the year. The calf seems to have come from Velakallil, an area part of the Idukki Reserved Forest and roamed into Chinnakanal town.
The calf, said to be just 5 months old, initially seemed to be frightened of the unfamiliar surroundings it ambled into. In a video captured on cell phone, it was seen running around, amused by the people and various vehicles parked in the area.
Watch the video here.
The residents of Munnar and its surrounding regions are no strangers to wild elephants wandering into villages and towns, where they have been known to create traffic snarls by blocking roads and sometimes even destroying shops and cars. With prior experience of frequent man-elephant conflicts, the people were initially wary of this new visitor, but later warmed up to it due to its enthusiasm and harmless nature.
The locals later informed of the calf to forest officers following which Devikulam Range Officer Nibu Kiran and his team of officials came to the spot, rescued the elephant and placed it in a temporary holding cage. It was fed in liquid form and there are plans to identify the herd that the calf belongs to and reunite them.
If the calf is not sought out by its herd within the next two days, the forest officers will move it to a temporary rehabilitation center.
In February this year, an elephant, named by locals as ‘Padayappa’, had similarly strayed from the forests adjoining the Kannan Devan tea gardens in Munnar to disrupt a local football competition. As the players saw the wild elephant walking onto the ground, they ran away, scared. The pachyderm kicked the ball around for a while and later retreated into the forest.