After around six hours of intense operation carried out by around 150 officials and four kumki elephants, Kerala's 'rogue elephant, 'Arikomban' was finally taken into 'custody' on Saturday evening.
Incidentally, the effort to catch the elephant failed on Friday as the team was unable to be track down at Chinnakkanal and Santhanpara in Idukki district.
But the team began its work in the wee hours on Saturday and by close to noon, the officials led by a team of veterinarians successfully fired the first tranquiliser.
Later six more tranquiliser shots were fired and the team of officials and the four kumki elephants successfully managed to push and shove the Arikomban into an 'elephant ambulance' fixed on a lorry using huge wooden poles by around 5 p.m.
Then started the next phase of the operation when two staff members climbed on top of the elephant and fixed the radio collar weighing around 8 kilograms that was brought from Assam.
Right from the start of the operation that began on Saturday morning, the TV channels were showing the operation live, leaving thousands of people glued to their television sets.
Meanwhile, the Idukki district sub-collector on Saturday evening clamped prohibitory orders in and around Kumli, located near the popular tourist destination of Thekkady because the rogue 'elephant' will be relocated to the deep forests in that locality.
At 6.05 pm, the lorry loaded with the rogue elephant started moving to its new surroundings, which is about 21 kms from where it was captured.
The local population in and around Kumli area when they suspected that the rogue elephant would be brought to their locality were unhappy and hence to avoid any untoward assembling of people, the prohibitory orders were issued.
The Kerala forest department has been trying to capture 'Arikomban' for over a month as it has been terrorising the people in the hilly district of Idukki for the past five years.
The name 'Arikomban', was given after it used to attack the places where rice was stocked, whether in homes or in shops. Rice in Malayalam is called 'Ari' and 'Komban' means tusker.
According to the forest officials, it had informed the Kerala High Court that after locating the elephant, it would be tranquilised and then fixed with a radio collar and would be relocated to an undisclosed location.
( 401 Words)