Kerala High Court Rejects Petition to Capture Rogue Elephant Arikomban, Calls for Vigilance and Monitoring

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In a recent development, the Kerala High Court has rejected a petition filed by the forest department to tranquilize and capture the wild elephant Arikomban. The rogue elephant had been causing concern as it was seen roaming around residential areas in Idukki, posing a potential threat to human safety.

Instead of capturing the elephant, the court has directed the forest officials to track Arikomban, tranquilize it, and place a radio collar around its neck to monitor its movements. The court emphasized the need for a permanent solution rather than merely capturing one elephant. It also questioned why human settlements were allowed in the elephant habitat in the first place.

The forest department had initially planned to capture the elephant with the assistance of four Kumki elephants. However, the court’s decision to reject this approach came after petitions were filed by animal rights organizations, including the Thiruvananthapuram People for Animals and Thrissur Walking Eye Foundation for Animal Advocacy. These organizations raised concerns about the drugging of the elephant and called for alternative measures to be taken.

As a result, the court has called for increased vigilance and the formation of an expert committee to monitor the situation. If Arikomban is located, it should be tranquilized and relocated to the interior of the forest, away from human settlements. This approach aims to strike a balance between ensuring the safety of the residents and preserving the natural habitat of the wild elephant.

The court’s decision highlights the importance of addressing the root causes of human-elephant conflict in the region. It urges the government to take proactive steps to prevent encroachment into elephant habitats and devise long-term strategies to mitigate such conflicts.

By rejecting the plea to capture Arikomban and opting for monitoring and relocation instead, the court has taken a stance that prioritizes the welfare of both humans and elephants. It acknowledges the need for sustainable solutions that protect wildlife and ensure the safety of communities living in proximity to elephant habitats.

As the situation unfolds, it is crucial for the forest department, local authorities, and the expert committee to work together in implementing effective measures to track, tranquilize, and relocate Arikomban. This case serves as a reminder of the complex challenges posed by human-wildlife interactions and the importance of finding harmonious coexistence between humans and animals in shared landscapes.

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