Five tamed elephants from various elephant camps are coming to drive back a herd of pachyderms which are holed up at Huskur Tank, on the outskirts of Bangalore city, since Sunday.
Abhimanyu from Mattigodu Camp has already reached the spot, accompanied by a team of forest officials and veterinarians. Gajendra and Srirama from K Gudi camp in Chamarajnagar, Arjuna from Balle camp and Harsha and Vikrama from Dubare Camp near Kushalnagar, are on their way.
Dr Nagaraj, a veterinarian, who has been looking after the Dasara elephants for the last 12 years, told Express that the tamed elephants would be used to drive back those ‘intruders’ from the spot. The elephants from various camps have participated in such operations in the past not only in Karnataka but also in other states.
“Recently, our elephants took part in nabbing a rogue elephant in north India. The jumbos are given training in camps in driving back pachyderms as well as capturing the rogue elephants,” he added.
He ruled out tranquilising around 14 elephants which are camping near the tank that too after the sunset. “We have been asked to assist the local forest officers in driving back the wild elephants. We are optimistic to do it with the help of tamed elephants. We will take our elephants near the wild jumbos and make them to leave the spot,” he added.
Meanwhile, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (APCCF) Ajay Mishra told Express that those 14 wild elephants are from Hosur Division of Tamil Nadu. Usually, they come once in a while to Malur and Bangarpet areas of Kolar district in search of food. The might have come in December or January and not returned. They have been wandering in Malur area for the last four to five weeks and then came to the outskirts of Bangalore on Saturday last. Since then the jumbos have not been able to go back because of disturbance from local people.
“They look fully exhausted and are trying to go back. But the presence of people near the tank is forcing them to charge at the crowd fearing threat to its calves. Local people are not ready to leave the place despite requests from forest and police department. We are starting operation to drive the jumbos back to Hosur division after the sunset. Once the people vacate the place, the panic-striken wild jumbos will move out without hurting anybody,” he noted.
Forest Minister B Ramanath Rai, offering his condolences to death of four people in the wild elephant attack, has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to families of the deceased. “The Forest Department officials and staff of Kolar Division, Bangalore Rural Division and Bannerghatta National Park have been carrying out the operation with cooperation of the Police Department. The department is facing impediment due to presence of local people. The Karnataka forest department officials are in constant touch with Hosur forest division officials,” he added.
“On Monday morning, the wild elephants have reached Bangalore Rural limits of Sarjapur near Hosur highway. Efforts are on to drive these elephants to the nearest forest (Bannerghatta or Krishnagiri Forest Area depending on the movement). An effort has already been made to implement the recommendations of the Elephant Task Force set up by the Karnataka High Court to find out a permanent solution to the problem,” Rai added.