|Maharaja, the wild tusker who ravaged villages near Madukkarai town for nearly a year, was finally captured by forest officials and led off the farms on June 19. www.thehindu.com|
|Rogue elephant smoking and drinking. www.jantoo.com|
|Elephant with good eye sight for eatables? www.cartoonstock.com|
Though such rampaging elephants cause, pain, death, loss of properties, income, etc., some wild elephants act in an unusual, weird way that gives us a break from anxiety and we enjoy their antics and adamant nature. The case of one particular rogue elephant from Madukkarai, Tamil Nadu is of some interest. His name is Maharaja and befitting his majestic name he kept the the villagers and the forest officials on tenterhooks for a pretty long time. Their various stratagems became futile and there was nothing to stop this fearless tusker when his mind was set on something. He was active in the villages around and sometimes on the outskirts of Madukarai, a small town well-known for a cement factory near Coimbatore city. His main targets were succulent fruit bearing trees and, in particular, banana plantations. Elephants are fond of bananas. People tried every thing to stop this brave elephant - chilli fences, mild electric fences, trenches, alarm connected solar fences to scare him silly, nothing succeeded to cow him down. He was so strong and sturdy driven by hunger and taste of nice fruits, he trampled on these impediments just like a road roller or bulldozer. People nick named him as 'Madukkarai Maharaja' as he was fond of this place and the vicinity. In spite of their miserable time, the people here had a vein of humor and used to address this solitary rogue tusker by a rhythmic nick name.
|Ravaged banana plantation, Kittampalayam, Tamil Nadu raided by wild elephants. www.thehindu.com|
|Elephants and bananas. www.gettyimages.com|
|elephants and bees.bellowsbees.blogspot.com|
'Madukkarai Maharaja' has become a symbol of never- ending conflict between humans and elephants, competing for food and living space and unsuccessful, but some times fatal attempts made by the forest officials to trap him. Further, it throws light on the behavior changes of pachyderms, relevant to the changing habitat and ecosystem.
On just one occasion in September, 2015 having no other choice, Maharaja killed a forest guard by trampling him when he and other officials tried to drive him out. This tragedy happened because the din and excitement caused by the crowd was too much for him to bear it. Considering his past clean record can we assume he might have done this killing in a moment of aberration? Previously, he had no records of violence against humans.
Last month, June, 2016 the forest officials captured the tusker Maharaja with the help of Kumkis (trained elephants) to take him into captivity. But during the operations, unfortunately, he died from a fracture to his skull caused by repeated banging of his head against the wooden kraal. Perhaps, Maharaja never wanted to lose him freedom and free eating spree, as he had enjoyed before.
" We thought you would leave this forest, but you left this world".
Assam Haathi project bees keep the wild elephants at bay www.alanhesse.co.uk