Kerala forest department finds 15 pellets in captured elephant Dhoni’s body | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Kerala forest department finds 15 pellets in captured elephant Dhoni’s body

Jan 26, 2023 11:44 PM IST

At least 15 gun pellets were found inside the body of a wild elephant that was captured in Kerala’s Palakkad district on Sunday, state forest minister AK Saseendran said, adding that most of the pellets have been removed by the veterinarians of the forest department

Thiruvananthapuram: At least 15 gun pellets were found inside the body of a wild elephant which was captured in Kerala’s Palakkad district on Sunday, state forest minister AK Saseendran said on Thursday, adding that most of the pellets have been removed by the veterinarians of the forest department.

The captured elephant was named Dhoni after a village in Kerala’s Palakkad district where residents accused it of wreaking havoc. (HT Photo)
The captured elephant was named Dhoni after a village in Kerala’s Palakkad district where residents accused it of wreaking havoc. (HT Photo)

The captured tusker was later named Dhoni after a village in Palakkad where residents accused it of wreaking havoc.

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“It is sad that people are taking law into their hands and fire at animals using country-made guns. I know people will be angry but this is not the way to approach it,” Saseendran said, adding that the forest department will take strict action against such offenders.

“If wild animals are tackled like this, they will become more aggressive,” he said. “We have an affective mechanism to deal with such situations and many strayed big cats and elephants were tranquillised and captured.”

A senior forest official, declining to be named, said most of these pellets were not very deep suggesting that they were fired from country-made or air guns.

Since January this year, two elephants and a tiger have been captured and shifted to animal rescue centre in the state, according to forest department statistics.

Forest officials said they further strengthened the enclosure of the captured tusker after it tried to break it on two occasions. The rogue elephant had wreaked havoc in several villages, including Dhoni, in Palakkad for over seven months before it was tranquillised and captured on Sunday.

Once the jumbo is acquainted with its new surroundings, it will be trained as a Kumki (an elephant trained to scare away intruding animals), forest officials said.

Meanwhile, a forest watcher Sakthivel (45) was trampled by a wild elephant in Idukki district on Wednesday. An expert in scaring off intruded animals, especially elephants, Sakthivel went missing while he was chasing a herd of elephants. Later, his body was recovered. Forest officials said he was trapped in heavy mist enveloped in the Santhapara area while chasing strayed jumbos.

Forest officials said it was a big loss to the department as he was an expert in handling jumbos and he used to “communicate” effectively in sign and body languages. Video footages of Sakthivel chasing elephants had gone viral on social media. “Elephants are gentle animals. They attack only if they are scared or provoked. I have a peculiar bond with them and trust them immensely,” he was heard saying in one of the footages. The Kerala government has announced 15 lakh compensation for his family.

In view of rising animal attacks and casualties, the government had last week announced its decision to approach the Supreme Court with a plea to control wild population on priority basis.

In the last two weeks, the southern state has witnessed two deaths — a farmer killed in a tiger attack in Wayanad on January 12 and the death of the forest watcher in Idukki on Wednesday. According to an RTI (right to information) application filed by activist Raju Vazakkala last week, at least 105 people had died in elephant attacks in the state between 2018 and 2022, with Wayanad and Idukki districts accounting for a majority of such deaths.

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