TNI Office: Officials from Tamil Nadu’s Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) have launched a search for a wild elephant in the Nilgiris after the tusker was seen eating plastic waste in a viral video. It is the second time in eight months that a tusker has been seen eating plastic waste in the forest. A wild elephant can be seen lifting a plastic bag of grass and eating it in a recent video allegedly shot inside the MTR and widely shared by tourists.
Despite littering penalties and the Nilgiris’ vaunted “plastic-free” label, #plasticpollution continues to seriously affect wildlife in the district. Video from Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. pic.twitter.com/urBklrwTku
—Rohan Premkumar (@ThinBrownDuke26) September 18, 2022
To protect the environment and wildlife of the district, the government of Tamil Nadu has already banned the use of plastic products in Nilgiris district. Forest area covers 55% of Nilgiris, also known as the “Queen of the Hills”.
Despite the ban, some tourists dump their used plastic debris in the forest while visiting the Masinagudi-Theppakkadu road in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. The wild elephant was patiently picking up and eating the discarded plastic bag with its trunk, which surprised wildlife enthusiasts.
The Forest Department has urged visitors to be responsible and refrain from bringing plastic items to the Nilgiris in order to protect the natural environment and wildlife. According to the department, eating plastic can cause stomach problems in wild animals, which can lead to death.