The animal was driven away into the Pathiri Mannam forest

A 74-year-old man was trampled to death by a wild elephant at Kappumchal, near Panamaram, under the Mananthavadi forest range in the North Wayanad forest division on Wednesday morning.

The deceased was identified as Raghavan of Kaliyar Thottathil at Arumottamkunnu, near Panamaram.

The jumbo attacked Raghavan while he was returning home after supplying milk at a booth near his house in the morning. He died on the spot. Forest Department sources said the tusker attacked the man around 7 a.m.

Meanwhile, a group of villagers blocked vehicular traffic on the Kalpetta-Mananthavadi State Highway near Panamaram seeking protection to their life and property from recurring attacks by wild animals. The blockade was withdrawn after North Wayanad forest divisional officer R. Keerthi, Wayanad Subcollector N.S.K. Umesh, and Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary warden N.T. Sajan, held discussions with the villagers in the presence of leaders of various political parties.

They told the villagers that the tusker would be captured and attached with a radio collar telemeter if the forest personnel failed to drive away the jumbo into the forest by night with the support of two trained or ‘kumki’ elephants. They also assured them that ₹10 lakh would be provided to the victim’s family. Patrolling of forest personnel would be intensified in the area and power fencing would be erected on the fringes of forests.

However, all the attempts made by the frontline staff of the department to drive away the animal from human habitats to the forest were in vain. Moreover, three Forest Department staff were injured during the attempt.

Meanwhile, the Wayanad district administration has invoked Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in the Cherukattur, Koolivayal, Koyilery Kappumchal, Kaithakkal and Arumottamkunnu areas to avoid the intervention of mob during the operation.

Forest Minister K. Raju also directed the officials on Tuesday to capture the animal by applying tranquiliser darts and release it to the inner forest after fixing a radio collar telemeter .

Officials of the sanctuary, the Rapid Response Team, and two territorial forest divisions, including South and North Wayanad forest divisions, then resolved to drive away the jumbo to forest with the help of two ‘kumki’ elephants late in the evening. Finally, the animal was driven away into the Pathiri Mannam forest under the Chethalayath forest range under the South Wayanad Forest division around 7.45 p.m. It took nearly three hours to complete the operation.

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