Not ready to take any chances, the state Forest Department has asked mahouts and kavadis not to take tame elephants, especially those who participate in the Mysore Dasara, deep into the jungle, fearing attacks by wild pachyderms.
Attacks on tame elephants have become a common feature as they are generally freed after sunset for grazing. If wild elephants are in ‘musth,’ they get aggressive and attack whoever comes their way. Killing of tame elephants by wild ones has been reported in the past.
This follows last week’s tragic death of Rajendra, a 33-year-old tusker, when a wild elephant attacked him near Sakrebail elephant camp. Usually, the tame elephants fight back, but Rajendra was helpless, resulting in his gory death.
The biggest worry is that the elephants that participate in the Mysore Dasara every year are also housed in various camps. The department is not ready to take any chances, especially with the Jumbo Savari elephants. Chief Conservator of Forests of Project Elephant Ajay Mishra said that he has instructed officials to be careful while releasing pachyderms for grazing. The mahouts have been asked to look out for wild elephants before releasing the tame ones in forests.
He said that wild elephants in ‘musth’ move near elephant camps to attack the tame ones, which is what happened to Rajendra.