|Died in captivity. rogue elephant. Kolakolli. Kerala www.flickr.com|
|rogue elephant. Kolakolli. Kerala www.youtube.com|
The wild elephants that raid the nearby farms or villages in rural India for food and water, once their belly is full and their thirst quenched, will get back to their habitat that shrinks in size as the time goes by. Rarely such herds terrorize the people unless something happens accidentally. However, people get panicky, if they come into the village and lay their trunks on any eatables, they have in their small houses. Once in a while they do encounter a rouge elephant or two and they keep coming to the same places for a specific purpose - to eat tasty, juicy fruits to their heart's content and nothing can stop them till their belly is full and rip at seams!
The `rogue' elephant in the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary in Thiruvananthapuram district, Kerala is one of a kind. He gained considerable notoriety because he would go crazy and drool upon seeing jack-fruit farms, hence the tribes called it `Chakkamadan' (jack-fruit freak) because of its fondness for ripe jack-fruits.
When he is on an eating spree, he does not like to be disturbed and he uses his weapon - threats to get the tribes out of his way. The forest officials, vets and their entourage went on the trail of this rogue elephant, barring rainy days, slushy, slippery paths, but could not do anything to stop the animal. Even with Kumki (trained elephant), they slogged it out at the Peppara Wildlife Sanctuary, whatever they did it ended in fiasco.
Kolakolli', aged 30 years (master executioner), is believed to have killed 12 people in that region over the last seven years, but they did not have enough evidence to connect the death with this particular elephant. During jack fruit season, he would stalk there at night and leave the place before sunrise. But, in recent time he stayed there whole day amidst the jack-fruit trees, ripping them apart and causing severe damage to the farms. His fondness for jack fruit was such that his body odor emanated jack-fruit smell, according to the tribes who were living in anxiety and terror. Kerala State Forest Ministry wanted the elephant trapped at any cost to save the sanctuary and the people living there. The funny thing was on a couple of occasions, the tranquilizer shots hit the right spot, but Kolakolli had successfully shaken off the effects and was back on his feet, getting ready to go on an eating binge expedition - what else?, bunches of jack fruits. The rogue elephant, it was discussed, preferred soft food - bananas, tapioca plants, etc. Based on the dung analysis, the vets thought the tucker had either dental or indigestion problem. The forest department decided to get the animal captive and there was no guarantee that he would give up his eating habit, if taken elsewhere.
The elephant, after a long hide and seek game was captured in 2006 and sent to the training camp. After a few weeks, unfortunately, Kolakolli', who had hogged the limelight and media for a pretty long time, collapsed dead. Reason: cardiac arrest. Perhaps, he became depressed upon losing his freedom and the chance to lay his trunks on the juicy fruits!! Soon after his death the near by tribal villages wore a veil of gloom over the death of that elephant. They wished that he had been relocated.
Similarly in June 2016 the Tamil Nadu forest officials tracked and finally captured a rogue elephant called Madukkarai Maharaj, 20 year old tucker who had damaged lots of farms and killed three people over a short period. Unlike Kolakolli, he did not have any quirk in his personality. Nor did he have any weird eating habits. But, he was dominating his area of activity. He was carefully given a tranquilizer shot and sedated. Later with the help of Kunkis, the rouge elephant was taken captive. Unlike
|Madukkarai Maharaj crossing Highway. Covai Post|
Kolakolli, he did not give a slip nor was he at large for a long time. Unfortunately he too died in the Varagaliyar elephant camp soon after his capture and the reason attributed was he was given overdose of tranquilizer as he was over active and aggressive while in captive. Numerous environmentalists want such rogue elephants captured and relocated in other part of the forest. They say taking the rouge elephant captive is not at all a good idea.
A few days ago on the busy near-by railroad track a 25 year old elephant was hit by a speeding train and it died on the spot. The jumbo, came looking for food and water from the nearby wooded area.