Killer elephant’s spree of terror finally over as ‘cool customer’ caught at last

A murderous Indian elephant's two-year spree of terror has finally been brought to an end after he was captured on Sunday (January 22).

Known as Palakkad Tusker-7 or PT-7, the 20-year-old, 3.5-tonne beast was snared in the Palakkad district of Kerala, India.

The elephant had often rampaged through local villages, smashing through houses and trampling on vehicles.

READ MORE: Renovation at horror zoo where 'depressed giraffe' killed itself labelled 'terrorism'

According to Dr Arun Zachariah, a wildlife vet who organised PT-7's capture, he tore off a farmer's arm and killed another man late last year.

That's when Dr Zachariah decided something needed to be done.

He used a bulldozer to clear the area of forest from where the elephant usually emerged. An 18ft-tall enclosure made of large eucalyptus logs was built to contain him.

The operation to catch PT-7 involved 72 workers and three tame elephants. It lasted eight hours and saw them hide in the forest before shooting PT-7 with an anaesthetic cocktail of xylazine and ketamine at 7am.

"It was a textbook-like operation. Everything was perfect. Excellent teamwork and coordination, and the three kumkis [tame elephants] too worked really well," Dr Zachariah told The Hindu.

"Usually we hit the rump region. But we took PT-7 by darting at its left neck region. And the sedation lasted for seven hours."

It took 30 minutes before the elephant went down, and the sedative needed to be topped up five times.

His eyes were covered as the three tame elephants steered and pushed him onto a lorry. It was noon by the time PT-7 was on his way to an elephant camp in Wayanad.

"He is a cool customer. He didn’t rage – he is habituated to humans. He knew the game was up," Dr Zachariah told The Times.

PT-7 was reportedly responsible for 90% of the "elephant conflicts" in the region, which are on the rise due to human development bringing the beasts into closer contact with us.

He has now been renamed Dhoni (after the village he terrorised) and will receive two months of training before being released into semi-wild conditions.

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