Tension prevailed near Kallambalam when a captive elephant turned restive and killed its mahout when it was taken to lift timber on Monday.
The mahout, Unni alias Kuttan of Edavoorkonam near Vellalloor, was killed after 35-year-old Unnikrishnan, a mozha (Makhna) elephant, knocked him down using its trunk and threw a heavy log on his body.
The incident occurred around 10 a.m. when the elephant was taken by Unni to a plantation in Kappamvila, near Kallambalam, to shift heavy timber.
Following the incident, the elephant stood by the body for nearly an hour-and-a-half during which it did not allow any person to come close. The body was later retrieved by two other mahouts after the elephant was distracted by some local residents who hurled bananas.
The elephant was soon reined in by a team of veterinarians of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) who came from Kollam. Tranquiliser darts were fired at the elephant to bring it under control and shift it to a safer location. The elephant was owned by Puthenkulam native Shaji, official sources said.
According to Attingal section Forest officer Biju Kumar, there was no sign of provocation that could have led the elephant to turn violent. The mahout was known to have handled the same elephant for nearly 10 years. The elephant had been tethered near his house for a long time.
B. Aravind, the veterinarian who led the SPCA team, said the elephant was not in musth. Besides, it had not exhibited violent behaviour in the past, he said. The Kallambalam police registered a case in the incident.