Forest department to renew efforts to capture Rivaldo (State of Tamil Nadu,
May 1, 2021
With “Rivaldo,” an elephant in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR), becoming
more dependent on humans for his daily calorie intake, people are allegedly
tormenting the animal. This has led Forest department officials to renew
their efforts to capture the animal and relocate him to the Theppakadu
Elephant Camp where he will be made to live out the rest of his life in
K.K. Kaushal, Field Director of MTR, said that over the last few months,
Rivaldo was not venturing into the forests to feed at all, but was relying
solely on people to feed him.
“We have heard of people pulling his tail and even playing with his tusks.
We fear that he might lash out at someone,” said Mr. Kaushal. He said that
the safety of the elephant itself was another source of concern.
Conservationists have consistently maintained that Rivaldo can be
rehabilitated and prevented from entering human settlements, but forest
department officials believe that the chances of rehabilitating the
elephant, known for being extremely docile, are remote.
“If he is not fed by local people, he damages houses in search of food,”
said a forest department official, and that locals were feeding the
elephant as it was otherwise raiding houses in search of food.
“Rivaldo has a permanent injury to his trunk and a problem with his
eyesight,” said Mr. Kaushal.
The animal had sustained injuries 10 years ago when it reportedly bit into
a crude bomb that was used to deter wild boars from entering farms.
The forest department plans to lure him into a kraal (elephant shelter used
to restrict the animal’s movement and to train it by using a system of
punishment and reward) in Vazhaithottam area.
“After he is fully trained, he will be taken to the Theppakadu Elephant
Camp and made a captive elephant,” said Mr. Kaushal, who added that he had
tried to give the animal as much time as possible so that it could be
“Unfortunately, our efforts have not worked. The best option now is to take
Rivaldo to the camp, where he will be fed and housed for the rest of his
life,” he said.