Sunday, August 16, 2009

Two days of events..some happy, some sad

(All photos have been taken by Halan, Mudumalai Wildlife Ranger)

Thusrday, 13th August 2009, 5:30 pm:
We'd received a call from Halan sir (Mudumalai wildlife ranger) that a captured tusker was going to be released at the elephant camp. We rushed to witness the event.
When we reached there we found a semi-sized truck strapped with bamboo forming a sort of a cage. It was hard to see if there was an elephant in it. Bomman had taken up his post already and informed us of all he knew. "It was found at the bus stand in Coonoor" ,he said. Now that's an unlikely place to find an elephant, I thought. Later we were informed by Dr. K that he was found in a bungalow estate in Coonoor. I have no idea how they manage to catch him, but there he was, the 4 year old; must've been frightened out of his wits!
The next hour passed by in trying to noose him and turn him around so that he could safely walk out of the truck. He came out with a flourish! Sprightly fellow. He calmed down once the kumki eles were around him.
We walked up to Halan Sir. "Sir, what's going to happen now?", we asked. "Oh, we'll release him here into our forest", he said with a smile. "But he'll be alone!" I exclaimed. Halan Sir reassured us that he's old enough to fend for himself. Dr.K also confirmed that, and added that it's better to have him in the wild than at the elephant camp. But it was too late into the evening, so the release was going to happen tomorrow morning.

Friday, 14th August, 2009, 7:00 am (I think):
Little tusker was escorted to the forest early the next morning. Bomman aane was always there to reassure him. He'd become so attached to Bomman aane that he wouldn't leave his side, and had to be chased away when the forest officials released him.
Same day, 9:00 am:
We met Dr. K and his troop along Ponnangiri road. They were looking for the tusker, but didn't find him.
Till then we had a lot of sightings along the road - two sambaar (crossing the road), one striped necked mongoose (crossing the road), one malabar giant squirrel (not crossing the road, but up on a tree in a perfect pose for a photo which I missed), and, a peacock display. I hope you can view this video...

While working we'd also received news of a very tragic kind..a French lady had passed away, apparently "attacked" by an elephant. Here's a news article. Out of the many versions I've heard so far I'm inclined to believe this one.


Mythili said...

Hey,...watched the video...what a totally disinterested peahen..:)

Sad incident in Bokkapuram..hope this makes the forest dept take some action against the resorts.

Anonymous said...

reading this, it feels like i'm back at masinagudi already. i must show sid pictures of the little tusker.

Nandita Mondal said...

@Mythili ma'am: You know, I was wondering why the peacock was displaying his back to the peahens all the time...coz that's what it seemed like! I didn't get a clip of the rest of the display, but there was one point where it seemed like he was chasing the females off! I was very confused :/
Regarding the Bokkapuram incident, I don't know about forest department taking action, although there is an inquiry on (as the news reports). But one good thing is that this has received wide coverage, at least in Tamil Nadu, and I hope, in France. Tourists at least should be more aware and not allow just about anyone to take them into the out licences to good guides is one approach to safe tourism, but then again, those could easily be forged. The problem seems unsolvable..

@Shalu: How'd Sid like the tusker?

Soumya said...

hi nand, nice post! the few time i remember peacock displays - again, i recall them to be showing their tail feathers (quivering) - rather than the front. i wonder if anyone has described the display in literature...rather than counting eye-spots??

Nandita Mondal said...

Soum, I was thinking the exact same thing! :)

Geetha Ramaswami said...

stuck in bangalore with no worthwhile events to describe:( :( :(

Nandita Mondal said...

That's ok, Geeths. When you come back you'll have tons to tell...about South Africa! and then about Mudumalai, of course :)