Forest team monitoring Padayappa, the wild elephant (Munnar)
Sandeep Thomas, Times of India
October 8, 2021
The forest department has sent a rapid response team to Mattupetty to track
the movement and health of the popular wild elephant fondly called
“Padayappa” by local residents.
For the past once week the jumbo has been camping on the premises of the
Kannan Devan Plantation Company’s R &T Manager’s Bungalow. Local residents
have raised concerns that the elephant could be suffering from some health
problems as it has been found standing at the same spots for hours.
M N Jayachandran, district secretary of Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals said that it is the normal behaviour of wild elephants
to regularly move from one place to another. “Padayappa, it seems, has
stopped moving maybe because it is facing some health issues. The forest
department must immediately send a fully-fledged medical team to the spot
and provide treatment to the elephant,” said Jayachandran.
District forest officer Raju Francis told TOI that a rapid response team
has been deputed to monitor the wild elephant. “The RRT team is closely
monitoring the movements of the tusker. If needed we will provide treatment
to the elephant,” said Francis.
Padayappa, named after Rajinikanth’s hit film, has many admirers in an area
known for man-animal conflicts primarily because of his calm nature. He
makes “friendly” appearances on the road sides helping itself to foods
stored in shops without making any damages to them.
The elephant, believed to be around 60 years old, can be easily identified
with his limp due to an injury on its hind leg and unusually long tusks.
The tusker had gone missing from Munnar for several months in 2016 causing
concerns among local residents that he had migrated to deep forests. But in
207, the elephant returned to Rajamala in Munnar on the Thiruvonam Day.
Since then it has been in and around Munnar.