Mysore’s rogue tuskers whisked away to Bandipur forest

June 9th, 2011 - 4:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, June 9 (IANS) The Karnataka wildlife division Thursday transhipped to the Bandipur reserve forest area the two elephants which trampled one person and a cow to death at Mysore a day earlier.

“The two male elephants, aged 10 and eight years, have been driven to Bandipur forest in two separate trucks and released in the jungle after they were treated and fed,” Mysore circle wildlife conservator P.P. Ravi told IANS.

The forest is about 200 km from here, and 64 km from Mysore.

The wild jumbos, which strayed into the state’s heritage city, about 140 km from here, early Wednesday from the nearby T. Narsipur forest range were reined in by tranquilising and cornering them after a four-hour chase.

“As both were shot four-five times with tranquilisers by our forest guards to stop them from running amok, we had to wait till the early hours for them to regain full consciousness and be calm. Both were given a thorough wash to minimise the effect of anesthesia and cool their bodies from the summer heat,” Ravi said.

The elephants, sporting ivory tusks, were part of a foursome herd that left the Narsipur forest late Tuesday in search of food and headed towards Mysore.

“Though rural folk in the nearby villages, who spotted the herd late Tuesday, alerted the forest department about their presence, no action was taken to prevent the duo from invading the city and going on the rampage,” said G. Putteswamy, a resident of Mysore who witnessed the high octane drama.

Admitting that the tuskers were in rage at the sight of people and concrete structures in the form of houses and shops, Ravi said as they were from the wilderness without exposure to human habitat and urban areas, they panicked and turned offensive to protect themselves from the irate mob chasing them and stoning.

“As the tuskers accidentally strayed into the city outskirts and made their way into the suburbs, they got confused and were searching for an escape route and join the other two who remained behind on the Narsipur forest fringe,” Ravi recalled.

The wildlife department also pressed into service four bigger elephants from the Mysore Palace of the scion Narasimharaja Srikantadatta Wodiyar to make the wild jumbos feel safe after they were ambushed by the forest guards.

“We have stepped up vigil in the forest areas and deployed additional forces to monitor the movement of these animals in their natural settings, which are shrinking due to increasing farming activities and encroachments on the fringes for tourism,” Ravi said.

A 55-year-old security guard, Renuka Prasad was trampled to death by one of the tuskers and a stray cow was fatally gored by the other tusker.

The latest incident brought to the fore again the growing man-animal conflict arising out of increasing deforestation, expansion of farmlands and intrusion into the elephant corridors across the Western Ghats in the southern states that spans Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

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