101 Jumbos Dead in Last 9 Months
By Shyam Sundar Vattam | Published: 21st January 2014 11:35 AM |
Karnataka has recorded 101 elephant deaths over the last nine months, with a drop in the number of jumbos electrocuted, according to the Forest Department. The deaths were caused by poaching and bullet wounds besides electrocution, illness and old age.
From April to November 2013, 23 humans were killed by wild elephants in different parts of the state.
On an average, 130-140 elephants die every year. However, in drought-hit 2012-13, a record 206 died, with 30-40 casualties being attributed to non-availability of water and foliage.
Many elephants drank muddy water and died of intestinal infections. Last year’s drought also caused an exodus of elephants to the Wayanad forests in Kerala.
In 2012-13, 13 elephants died of electrocution. But the number dropped to three in 2013-14, thanks to a directive from the Karnataka High Court to power supply companies to raise the height of the lines passing through national parks and elephant reserves.
Human deaths were reported in Kodagu, Bangalore Urban, Ramanagaram, Hassan, Chamarajanagar, Mysore and Tumkur districts, which house traditional elephant corridors.
Elephants foraging for food venture out of the forests at night and return only in the morning. Most attacks on humans take place during this time, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Ajay Mishra said.
Cause for Worry
Of late, elephants are straying into new areas. Recently, a herd was spotted in Kolar district. It was said to be from the forests in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Another herd was seen near K R Nagar town in Mysore district. The forest department is busy digging trenches to prevent elephants from straying, but the animals are finding new routes to raid villages and feed on crops.
“This has made our staff extra-vigilant. It is difficult to predict from where the elephants come,” he told Express.