Arikomban spotted at Manjolai tea estate, TN officials says tusker going through musth period

The forest department said the elephant,35, is being closely monitored

Arikomban Rogue elephant Arikomban (File)

Arikomban, the wild tusker that was relocated to KMTR Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli, was spotted at a tea estate in the Manjolai area. Earlier this week, the tusker had damaged empty houses here and destroyed banana plantations.

Officers of the Tamil Nadu Forest Department reportedly fired shots into the air in an effort to make the jumbo retreat back to the jungle. Efforts are on to make a trail of fruits to distract and lead it back to the deep forests, a report said. Arikomban was translocated to KMTR from the Cumbum forest in the Theni district over three months ago. 

The forest department said the elephant is going through Musth period. This led to it arriving at human-inhabited areas, the Malayala Manorama said in a report. A group of officials and veterinarians are tracking the 35-year-old elephant's movements, the officials told the daily.  Musth is a condition in bull elephants when they show aggressive behaviour due to an immense rise in reproductive hormones.

After Arikomban was spotted in Manjolai, tourists were reportedly restricted from trekking the area. Locals were asked to avoid venturing into the forest area until the animal was driven back to Kothayar. 

Arikomban was translocated to KMTR when it entered the Cumbum forest range after being dropped at the Periyar Tiger Reserve on April 29 following a Kerala High Court order.

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