The Tamil Nadu Forest Department provided an update on the well-being of the translocated wild elephant, Arikomban, sharing a recent photograph. Officials confirmed that Arikomban was feeding and drinking water, displaying good foraging habits and utilizing the reservoirs of Kuttiyar dam. The department’s tweet emphasized the continuous monitoring of Arikomban’s movements by the frontline staff of KMTR. Six teams, including veterinarians and forest officials, from Kalakad, Ambasamudram, and Kanniyakumari were assigned to track the approximately 35-year-old tusker.
Precautionary safety measures have been implemented to safeguard the residents residing near the forest fringes. Despite a deep cut on its trunk, Arikomban persists in its journey, covering distances of 20 to 30 kilometers on some days.
In response to the possibility of Arikomban crossing the Kerala border, the Kerala Forest Department decided to provide one of the antennae receiving signals from Arikomban’s radio collar to the Wildlife Division in Thiruvananthapuram. This antenna has a radius of 20 kilometers, enabling the capture of signals if the elephant enters that range.
Arikomban was recently traced to the Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary, while surveillance has been strengthened in the Neyyar forest range by the Kerala Minister for Forests and Wildlife Protection, AK Saseendran. Despite being last sighted 15 kilometers from the Kerala border, the minister assured the public that there was no cause for alarm.
The capture and translocation of Arikomban occurred after it earned its name due to its affinity for rice, often raiding houses and shops. Originally captured near Cement Palam in Kerala’s Idukki, the elephant was released into the Periyar Tiger Sanctuary but eventually strayed into Cumbum town. The Tamil Nadu Forest Department then recaptured Arikomban from Chinnaobulapuram village near Cumbum in the Theni district, and it subsequently found its way to the Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary.
With the successful resolution of the Arikomban situation, popular tourist destinations such as Meghamalai and Suruli have reopened in Tamil Nadu, attracting visitors once again. Meghamalai, known for its Munnar-like landscape, is reachable by traveling 33 kilometers from Chinnamannur on the Kottarakkara-Dindigul National Highway, with restrictions on travel after 6 pm. Those planning to visit the Suruli waterfalls are advised to take the KK Petti Road from Cumbum.