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ChinnaThambi should be captured and trained in camp, says expert to Madras high court

He said intruding into human use areas for raiding was common for many elephants.

ChinnaThambi should be captured and trained in camp, says expert to Madras high court
ChinnaThambi

Chennai: An elephant expert has informed the Madras high court that taking into account the complete abnormal behaviour of Chinnathambi, its ability to pass on its abnormal behaviour to other elephants, the danger to human life, the failure of negative conditioning and the lack of any other practical option, this elephant should be captured and brought into captivity and trained like other elephants in the forest department elephant camp.

Ajay Desai, an elephant expert, stated this in his report filed in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by People for Cattle in India, which sought to restrain the authorities from capturing, taming, tranquilizing or harming the wild elephant in operation named as “Chinna Thambi”.

Describing the behaviour of Chinnathambi after translocation, Ajay Desai in his report said if left unaddressed, it will become even more problematic than the other elephant ‘Vinayagam’ as this elephant has grown in an abnormal situation where it considers human use areas and habitations as part of its normal range. “The elephant does not distinguish between forest and human use areas”, he added.

He said intruding into human use areas for raiding was common for many elephants. They always run back into the forest when driven or disturbed by people whereas in the case of Chinnathambi, he did not bother to go towards the forest. When it first came out of the forest on January 31, 2019, and when the squads tried to drive him back, he kept walking through villages and agricultural areas as if they were its natural habitat. The elephant has covered a total distance of 61 km outside the forest and was presently nearly about 13 km away from the nearest forest boundary. It will come out again if re-located to the forest. Driving to nearby forest was not ideal as it will come out and continue to raid crops or wander into human use areas, he added.

The case will come up for hearing before a division bench comprising Justices S.Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad on February 12.

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