The Lede
D-Day: Capturing Chinnathambi
Tamil Nadu

D-Day: Capturing Chinnathambi

A Joseph

A Joseph

Following a nod from the Madras High Court, Tamil Nadu Forest Department officials are hoping to tranquilise and capture the young wild elephant Chinnathambi today

On what could well be his last day of freedom, Chinnathambi amuses himself by playing in the fields of Kannadimuthur village near Udumalaipet, Tirupur district. Forest Department officials lured him out of the sugarcane field with jackfruit and successfully brought him out. The tranquilising and capture of the young elephant is scheduled for 6 am on Friday.

After a whole day spent inside the sugarcane fields, Chinnathambi finally ventures out into the open fields.

Drones deployed by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department to locate Chinnathambi who is camping inside a large sugarcane field.

Forest Department officials await Chinnathambi’s arrival from a sugarcane field that he has camped in. 

The 25-year-old wild male elephant who has been in the news for the protests surrounding him, is camping in the sugarcane fields of Kannadimuthur village near Udumalaipet, blissfully unaware of what is going on around him.

The Madras High Court, while hearing two PILs relating to Chinnathambi, told the Tamil Nadu Forest Department that Chinnathambi may be captured for now but must not be harmed or injured in any manner. Forest Department officials and veterinarians are ready with tranquilisers and awaiting Chinnathambi.

Forest Department officials plan to tranquilise Chinnathambi and bring him out of the sugarcane field by 4 pm today. Forest Department officials and veterinarians are continuously monitoring Chinnathambi’s movements.

Chinnathambi’s capture is likely to be a tough task for Forest Department officials. During the first operation to capture him in Thadagam in late January, Chinnathambi had put up a fight and it took a broken tusk and several injuries from tusk wounds inflicted by the kumki elephants to force him to enter the truck.

JCBs are at Kannadimuthur, waiting to pave a path for a truck to enter the sugarcane field where Chinnathambi is camping. Once he is tranquilised, he will be hauled onto the truck and kept captive.

Kumkis (tame elephants used to capture wild ones) Kaleem and Suyambu are on standby for the operation to capture Chinnathambi. Earlier kumkis Kaleem and Mariappan, the most reliable kumkis in the Forest Department’s team had been deployed to control Chinnathambi. But Chinnathambi made friends with them both. Four days ago Mariappan fell ill and was taken back to Top Slip. Suyambu has been deployed instead. This is 22-year-old Suyambu’s first operation as a kumki.