No immediate plan to tame wild elephant as kumki, govt. tells court

The State Forest Department on Monday informed the Madras High Court that as of now it had no plans to tame 25-year-old Chinnathambi, a translocated wild elephant of the Thadagam valley near Coimbatore, as a kumki (aggressive wild elephant trained to control other elephants) and that a final decision would be taken only after obtaining expert opinion. Appearing before a Division Bench of Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, Advocate General (A-G) Vijay Narayan said the department had first decided to take the opinion of Ajay Desai, a consultant to World Wildlife Fund and a member of the Asian Elephants Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. PIL plea The submission was made during an urgent hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed by People for Cattle in India. Fearing that Chinnathambi could be tamed into a kumki, the NGO sought to restrain the Forest department from capturing, taming, tranquillising or harming him. Explaining the circumstances in which the elephant had to be lodged in a camp at Amaravati cooperative sugar mills, the A-G said two wild elephants, Vinayagam and Chinnathambi had been causing havoc in the villages near the forest areas by devouring agricultural crops because they were used to eating soft food. This led to a man-animal conflict with villagers going to the extent of pelting it with stones and bursting crackers to scare away the elephants. He informed the court that Vinayagam had killed a Forest Department staff and a female elephant that accompanied Chinnathambi had killed a local resident.

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