Thanneer Komban death: As Kerala appoints probe panel, Karnataka minister
says animals have no borders
The South First
February 04, 2024
The Kerala government on Saturday, 3 February, appointed a high-level
committee headed by a chief conservator of forests (CCF) to probe whether
there were any lapses in connection with the capture of the rogue elephant
from Wayanad which died after being transported to Karnataka.
Called “Thanneer Komban” by locals, the elephant was captured more than 16
hours after it entered Kerala on Friday.
Kerala Forest Minister AK Saseendran told PTI that a committee headed by
Eastern Circle CCF and Custodian of Vested Forests, Palakkad, K
Vijayananthan, would probe the matter and submit a report within a month.
‘Animals do not have borders’
Meanwhile, on Saturday, Karnataka Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre indicated
that animals do not have borders, and apparently objected to branding
“wildlife” as belonging to one particular state.
The minister took exception to transporting the elephant back to the state
of its origin.
“Branding an elephant or any wildlife to a particular state and sending it
back is not acceptable,” Khandre said.
The minister said he would discuss the matter with his Kerala counterpart.
Describing the incident as unfortunate, the minister emphasised the
significance of forests as crucial habitats for animals, asserting that
delineating boundaries between states is not justified for the well-being
Highlighting the interconnected landscape of Bandipur-Mudumalai-Nagarahole
and Wayanad within the Nilgiri Biosphere, the minister emphasised the
absence of natural boundaries for wildlife.
He called for a collective understanding that animals move freely in search
of food and water, urging humans to coexist with wildlife, particularly
elephants, which have roamed the Eastern and Western Ghats regions for
Expressing concern over the viral video depicting Kerala forest staff
administering tranquilisers to “Thanneer,” Khandre acknowledged the
sorrowful loss of the elephant and pledged to take measures to prevent such
incidents in the future.
A statement issued by his office said Thanneer Komban was among the 23
elephants found roaming in the Belur and Sakleshpur ranges of Hassan
Died of ‘pulmonary arrest’
Meanwhile, doctors who were part of the necropsy of the elephant, which had
died at Bandipur in Karnataka, told reporters that as per preliminary
reports, the cause of death was “pulmonary arrest”.
“There was a 40-cm-wide wound on the elephant’s thigh, which was filled
with pus. There are chances of infection. We have collected the samples
which will be sent to the laboratory for further examination,” Wayand
Forest Veterinary Officer Dr Ajesh Mohandas, who was present during the
autopsy of the elephant, told reporters.
He further said that the injury in the thigh was over a month old and the
pulmonary arrest was due to that infection.
Mohandas said the animal had undergone heavy stress and trauma twice in the
He was referring to the reports which said that the elephant was earlier
tranquillised in Karnataka when it ventured into a human habitat. The
animal, which then ventured into Kerala, was captured on Friday after being
The capturing of the elephant
However, Saseendran said the autopsy was held in Karnataka and the official
report would be out after the concerned officials prepared it.
He said the high-level committee was appointed to probe whether there were
any lapses in capturing the pachyderm.
Saseendran had earlier termed it as the ‘utmost painful’, the news about
the animal’s death, which had shocked everyone.
Fitted with a radio collar in Bandipur, the elephant crossed the Kabini
river and was found at the Wayanad border in Kerala.
The tusker was darted with tranquiliser shots twice before being loaded
onto a truck with the help of kumki elephants for being transported to
Bandipur in Karnataka.
After around 10 pm on Friday, the pachyderm was loaded onto the truck with
the help of the kumki elephants.
Kumki elephants are captive pachyderms used in operations for trapping and
capturing other elephants.
The elephant was calm and composed throughout and did not attack anyone or
cause any major property damage.
Three deputy conservators of forests from Kerala and officials from
Karnataka were present when the elephant was brought to Rampur elephant
camp, the statement said.
However, after reaching the camp, the elephant died. Earlier, it strayed
into Mananthavady town in Wayanad and created panic in the area.