Two kumki elephants to join operation to capture tiger in Gudalur

Two kumki elephants, from the Theppakadu elephant camp in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), are to join the Forest Department’s operation to capture a tiger in Gudalur.

The operation, which has stretched into the seventh day since a 56-year-old man was killed in Devan Estate in Gudalur, is being spearheaded by officials and staff from the MTR and Gudalur forest division.

Bhosale Sachin Thukkaram, Deputy Director of MTR (Core Area), and District Forest Officer (in-charge) of Gudalur division, told The Hindu that the tiger was spotted once again in Devan Estate where it had crossed on Wednesday. “We have spotted the tiger, T23, and are attempting to get close to it to try and tranquilize it with a dart,” said Mr. Thukkaram.

To get close to the animal, the Forest Department is using the assistance of two kumkis from MTR. Srinivasan, one of the kumkis, has already made his way to the operation area, while another kumki is expected to join the operation in the coming days.

Officials said the kumkis will be used as a perch from where veterinarians can shoot their darts at the tiger, or to drive the animal to a suitable area from where it would be easier to capture it.

The animal is believed to be more than 10-years-old, and could be carrying an injury, rendering it incapable of hunting wildlife to sustain itself, necessitating its switch to a diet of cattle which have been allowed to stray close to its habitat.

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