A hunt is on for a popular female YouTube vlogger who deliberately scared an elephant in the Thenmala forest in the Kollam district of Kerala — just so that she could shoot visuals of the frightened animal using a helicam.
Three days after Kerala’s forest department registered a case against 42-year-old Amala Anu, a resident of Kilimanoor near Thiruvananthapuram, officials launched a hunt on Tuesday, 12 July, to apprehend her after she failed to answer their summons.
Anu, who vlogs in Malayalam, shot the video some eight months ago in the Mampazhathara reserve of Thenmala, but it came to the attention of the forest officials only last week when it went viral on the internet.
Agitating an elephant
“In the video, we saw that the vlogger had used her helicam to agitate a wild elephant to capture his angry emotions,” Punalur Divisional Forest Officer S Shanavas told South First.
“We saw a panicked elephant chasing her. She must have annoyed the animal to make the video. It could have been dangerous for her,” he added.
Forest officials on Saturday served her a notice to appear before the department on Tuesday and explain her behaviour.
“Not finding the vlogger at her residence, we handed the notice to her mother,” said Shanavas.
“The department approached the local police and the cyber cell to determine her whereabouts when she failed to turn up for questioning on Tuesday morning,” he added.
Anu is absconding
It is believed that Anu, after learning from news channels that the forest department wanted to question her, deleted the video and went missing.
Anu was not alone in the controversial shoot. Officials said she was accompanied by four people, including a minor girl.
ll five have been charged under different sections of the Kerala Forest Act of 1961 and the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, where crimes are punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years.
“She has committed offences of trespassing and disturbing a wildlife habitat. In addition, Anu uploaded the visuals on social media, giving the wrong message to the public,” explained Shanavas.
He warned that entering forest areas without safety measures and in the absence of forest personnel was dangerous.
“Visuals prove that she had a narrow escape. She has misguided the public and encouraged many others to break the law,” he added.