(Idukki) A rice-loving wild elephant that killed at least six people in southern India has been tranquilized and taken to a reserve, local media have reported.

The male elephant, known as Arikomban (“the rice-loving elephant”), had gained national fame for raiding shops selling rice or grain in the southern state of Kerala.

But his expeditions were also sometimes deadly: according to local media, at least six trampled people lost their lives there.

On Saturday, a team of 150 rangers caught the pachyderm which fiercely defended itself. He resisted even after five doses of tranquilizer, reports The Indian Express newspaper.

With his legs shackled and his eyes covered with fabric, he was eventually pushed onto a truck with the help of four “kumki” elephants – elephants trained to capture their fellows.

The elephant, estimated to be around 30 years old, was then fitted with a GPS collar and taken to a wildlife reserve.

The guards had already tried to capture him several times. In 2017, Arikomban was given tranquilizers but managed to escape.

Last month, a dummy ration of rice and seeds was installed to attract him but a court put an end to the project, the newspaper adds.

According to the government, India is home to more than 60% of wild Asian elephants. The last elephant census conducted in 2017 counted 29,964 in the country.

Conflicts between animals and humans have increased in recent years in parts of India.

Conservationists see it as a consequence of the rapid expansion of human settlements around forests and major wildlife routes.

Last year, Indian authorities shot down a tiger nicknamed “the Champaran man-eater” that had killed at least nine people in the east of the country.