|Tranqulizing the elephant, Siliguri, W.Bengal. economictimes.indiatimes.com|
|Rogue elephant in Kerala. to-tranquilizethehindu.com|
|Rogue elephant Alamy.com|
The Kerala veterinarians have called for safe modes for controlling rogue animals, especially elephants. In foreign countries, quieter guns are used to manage them. In the recent past an experienced veterinarian was killed by a rogue elephant while tranquilizing it at Mallappally and now, the vets want to be extra cautious in dealing with such unpredictable pachyderms.
Normally, in Kerala the annual temple festival season coincides with the musth season of tuskers. This means both the experts and the devotees will face threats from tuskers whose mood swings during this particular period. This year the famous Thirussur Puram festival is a low key activity due to Covid-19 virus. As a matter of fact, at many Hindu temples big festivals are not held as a precaution. Only a decade ago in Kerala an expert was killed while he was in the process of darting the elephant to subdue it.
The problem with dart guns is they make noise while firing. Such uncomfortable sudden noise from dart guns puts the elephants on the war path and they react more vigorously. Silent guns are not in use in India for unknown reasons. The time has come to use them with better management technique, according to many vets. Abraham Tharakan, who had darted around 175 elephants over the years, is of the opinion that to be on the safer side, the gunmen should well plan the escape routes before pulling the trigger. If firing is done from behind a wall or a building, the charging tusker can be distracted or blocked, but in an open range it is quite dangerous. With some exceptions, most of the vets had close encounters with elephants in musth. The vets and forest officials tame the rogue elephants with kumkis (trained female elephants) once they are captured. Way back on May 10, 2017 - the Kerala forest officers caught the 'Terror elephant' Chullikomban after tranquilizing it and it was a 15-hour long operation to sedate him. He terrorized the people and farmers in the Aralam forest area and his unrelenting rampage in the villages, etc resulted in four death. In March 2019 the Forest Department captured the rogue 'Vadakkanadu Komban' who had been raiding and destroying farms and crops for several months, and posing threats to the people there. He was captured with the help of trained elephants. The area was close to Waynad Wildlife Sanctuary.