Mission Arikomban

“Mission Arikomban” is Kerala Forest Department’s mission to catch and cage wild tusker called “Arikomban ” who  created chaos and panic in Chinnakanal and Santhanpara panchayats in Idukki district of Kerala. Arikomban is a rough elephant who is infamous for his raiding ration shops and houses in search of “Ari” which means rice in Malayalam language. According to Forest Department, more than twenty people have been crushed to death and more than a hundred of houses and buildings have been destroyed by Arikomban. Rice is the favourite food of Arikomban and places where rice is kept, becomes easy target of the rough elephant.


Earlier Forest Department had fixed 24 March, 2023 and formed eight different groups under chief conservator officers (CCF) of Narendra Babu and RS Arun. The plan was to capture elephant with tranquilizer shots and transport to Kodanad Elephant Training Centre in Ernakulam district. Several “Kumki” (captivated trained elephant) elephants were arranged to help loading process. A group of wildlife protection activists filed petition in High Court against Mission Arikomban and Court stayed the mission until 29 March, 2023. High Court stopped Forest Department from conducting Arikomban.

Cumbum raid

On 30 April, 2023, Arikomban was caught and transported to Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kumily. But, despite expectation of Kerala Government, Arikomban was not ready to lodge in a place where Kerala Forest Department drew a virtual line in Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kumily. He fled out of forest in search of rice and created panic situation in Meghamalai tourist location causing havoc in residential areas . On May 27, 2023, Arikomban entered into Cumbum town in Theni district of Tamilnadu. The wild tusker charged towards vehicles, onlookers and general public. Arikomban roamed through the streets of Cumbum municipality and knocked ration shops which distribute rice in search of his favorite rice. Arikomban was more provoked while some youth and vloggers tried to capture photos and selfi. Authorities have disconnected electricity as precautionary measures to avoid any casualties. Even Authorities have imposed Section 144 in the town. People were injured and one person lost his life. After hours of panic in Cumbum town, Forest Veterinary Surgeons of Tamilnadu were able to tranquilise the tusker and moved out of the city. Cumbum is a picturesque town in Theni district on the foothills of Western Ghat mountain. It is also one of the highly fertile land in South India where there are many vineyards are located. Cumbum Thratchai, a unique grape, which is grown in Cumbum Valley has bagged GI Tag (Geographical Indication Tag)

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