|Madukkarai Maharaj, Behindw|
The name Madukkarai Maharaj may sound like the name of a zamindar or a big land lord of an old Tamil Movie owning vast spread of cultivable land and groves. In reality, Madukkarai Maharaj is none other than a pachyderm who was not on his best behavior and gave lots of problems to the forest officials and the people in that area. He was also nicknamed ‘Kattayan’(in Tamil meaning a strong man; here it refers to the elephant). Tagged as a rogue elephant, M. Maharaj 's active place of activity is Madukkarai and nearby areas that are close to Coimbatore city. There are paddy, banana, jack fruit and other farms and the small farmers and others depend mainly on the agricultural income from their farms.
|Think Elephants International - blogger|
The forest officials knew the areas he used to frequent and a few places where he was seen more often. After a long wait, the forest officials and their team of wildlife vets, tranquilizer experts, police and the special team reached the army camp area - the tusker's regular path and spotted it inside the army camp at Madukkarai at night. Even there were health and revenue officials in the team to coordinate the capture of the jumbo. Around 4 am, the tusker was returning on the same path and the capture team members with tranquilizing guns were put on high alert. Around 4.45am, when the elephant was returning to the forest in its usual path, they took a good shot with the tranquilize gun. Soon after darting, in half sedated state, the elephant moved over the national high way and then entered the reserve forest area. As it was a safe spot, the forest officials decided to set off the kumkis (trained female elephants) to corner the tusker to prevent it from running wild.
|Scars on the back of Madukkarai Maharaj, TN. /www.covaipost.com|
Considered as the biggest operation in the recent years, it included 50 officials /personnel. The captured elephant was escorted to top-slip area by DFO, pilot vehicle and others officials including vets. The tranquilized tusker at Madukkarai next day was taken to the camp and lodged in the kraal the same evening.
|Madukkkarai Maharaj www.thehindu.com|
Its broken tusks and marks left on the heavy wooden logs of the kraal pointed out its desperation to get out of the trap and escape into the wild. Around 4.10 p.m. it hit a wooden structure hard, fell down and died in the next five minutes, leaving its trunk out of the cage.
In 2011, operation similar to this one was a failure. The sedated elephant accidentally fell into a pit and finally dead.
Having been free, enjoying fresh air and fresh crops, Madukkkarai Maharaj did not like to live like a prisoner within the confines of kraal. He preferred death to life in a small enclosed space, begging for food from the forest officials.