Chennai, Feb 13 (PTI) The Madras High Court Wednesday gave its nod to capture and put in captivity a wild elephant which has been venturing into human habitats in Coimbatore and neighbouring districts in recent days.

A bench comprising Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad directed the Tamil Nadu principal chief conservator of forest to pass appropriate orders for capturing the 25-year-old elephant, nicknamed “Chinnathambi” and keep it in captivity.

It gave the order on a PIL filed by animal welfare organisation People for Cattle in India (PFCI), which sought framing of suitable guidelines for translocation and rehabilitation of elephants and systematic study of man-elephant conflicts in forest fringes.

“The averments, submissions and report of the expert Ajay Desai all warrant capture of the elephant Chinnathambi,” it said.

The bench made it clear that the physical discomfort to the elephant while capturing and transporting should be kept to the minimum and adequate measures should be made for its safe journey to the place of captivity.

The safety and security of the people en route should also be ensured.

The petitioner had also pleaded for a direction to frame necessary guidelines for the safe and humane methods of translocation of elephants.

In Coimbatore district, several environmentalists and animal lovers had expressed concern over earlier reported moves to tame Chinnathambi and make him a ‘kumki’ (tamed elephant).

However, the principal chief conservator had denied the reports and told the bench in the previous hearing that all elephants cannot be used as ‘kumkis’.

‘Chinnathambi’ was translocated from the outskirts of Coimbatore to Varagaliar, about 100 km from here, by Forest Department personnel on January 25 following complaints from residents about the elephant destroying crops and damaging houses for the last seven months.

However, the elephant, which was radio-collared, returned to human habitat the third day after walking all the way back from Vargaliar.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.