TNI Bureau: 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. This is the second time in eight months that a tusker has been seen eating plastic waste inside the forest. A wild elephant can be seen lifting a plastic bag from the grass and eating it in a recent video purportedly shot inside the MTR and widely shared by tourists.
Despite penalties for littering and the Nilgiris' much vaunted "plastic-free" tag, #plasticpollution continues to severely impact wildlife in the district. Video reportedly from Mudumalai Tiger Reserve. pic.twitter.com/urBklrwTku
— Rohan Premkumar (@ThinBrownDuke26) September 18, 2022
To protect the district’s environment and wildlife, the Tamil Nadu government has already banned the use of plastic products in the Nilgiris district. The forest area covers 55 percent of Nilgiris, also known as the “queen of hills.”
Despite the ban, some tourists throw their used plastic debris into the forest while visiting the Masinagudi-Theppakkadu route within the 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.