ANI Photo | Kerala HC asks state govt if rogue tusker ‘Arikomban’ could return to Chinnakanal

The Kerala High Court has asked the state government to clarify if there was a possibility of rice-eating wild tusker ‘Arikomban’ returning to its original habitat in the Chinnakanal area of Idukki district.
The court observed that such a possibility could not be ruled out till the rogue tusker adjusts to a new diet and directed the forest department to continue proper monitoring.
Arikomban, which had struck terror among the local populace, raiding local shops and gobbling up rice, was shifted by forest officials to Periyar Tiger Reserve a few days ago after being captured from the forested parts of the Chinnakanal area.
The court, however, expressed satisfaction with the ‘Arikomban Mission’ and issued a letter to all the members involved in the effort to capture the rogue tusker. It stated that an expert committee should be formed to resolve human-animal conflicts.

The forest department informed the court that real-time surveillance of the runaway tusker was being ensured through a radio collar.
The court again reminded that a long-term solution to the issue of man-animal conflict is needed and efforts should be made to clear all encroachments from the habitat of the local wildlife.
The court was informed that an expert committee has been formed for a detailed study in this regard. The amicus curiae, Ramesh Babu, will be the committee’s chairman.
The divisional bench of the high court also directed the state government to recommend other members for the panel. The court also reiterated that relocating animals from their natural habitat was not a solution.
Arikomban, which got its name from its love for ‘ari’ (rice) while ‘komban’ means tusker, is believed to have damaged several houses and ration shops in Chinnakanal and Munnar areas of Idukki over the last few years.

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