India’s most loved rogue elephant Chinna Thambi is finally captured

It’s all over for Chinna Thambi, India’s most loved rogue elephant, as he was finally captured after his latest rampage through the south Indian countryside.

Video of his capture shows a combined team of forest officials and tame elephants successfully trapping him on the morning of February 15, ending his free run.

The team cornered him at a sugarcane field in Udumalaipet in Tamil Nadu state, and lured him outside with a jackfruit, his favourite snack. As he came out they tranquillised him with dart guns and tied him up with ropes with the help of captive elephants.

He was then loaded to a truck which will take him to his new home, an elephant camp at Top Slip forest, where he will be trained as a kumki, or tame elephant.

Chinna Thambi was captured at a Thadagam village in Coimbatore in late January after local villagers protested over his crop-raiding habits.

Though forest officials moved him to a forest 80 kms away, he refused to stay put and re-emerged shortly after by raiding crops near his new home, causing further farmer protests.

Despite his notoriety, Chinna Thambi was also hugely popular as he would never attack anyone. Known as a gentle giant, he would just limit himself to raiding crops and even homes for food.

Chinna Thambi fan clubs sprouted and there was a campaign in recent days to keep him free. But on February 13, the Madras High Court ruling following the petition that forest officials were to capture him, sealing his fate.