CHAMARAJANAGAR: The incident of an IAS officer feeding a wild tusker at Gopalaswamy hill at Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) has received severe criticism from wildlife activists who are pointing out that the officer has transgressed wildlife regulations by feeding a wild elephant.
IAS officer B B Cauvery who is currently serving as the Director of Directorate of Urban Development on Thursday had fed a wild tusker during her visit to the Venugopalaswamy temple atop Gopalaswamy hill situated at Gundlupet taluk in Chamarajanagar.
The onlookers who had taken photos of the officers feeding the tusker on the occasion of Sankranti festival had uploaded the photos on social media attracting flak from wildlife activists and people.
While people criticised her for getting VIP treatment at the temple, as she had earlier served as the deputy commissioner of Chamarajanagar, wildlife activists pointed that the IAS officer had advertently or inadvertently violated the wildlife regulations by feeding a wild tusker.
Joseph Hoover, a wildlife activist and member of the state wildlife board said that it was baffling that the Forest Department has allowed the temple authorities to lure and feed the wild tusker.
“The tusker is a frequent visitor to the temple which obviously comes to relish the goodies offered by animal friendly temple staff. But, the fallout of this largesse could impact local communities which live on the periphery of Bandipur Tiger Reserve.
The tusker could enter hamlets expecting people to offer fruits. If, and when, there is a human casualty, it will be the tusker which will be branded a rogue elephant, captured and consigned to an elephant camp,” he said.
He further said that had the range forest officer of Gopalaswamy Betta range been vigilant, he would have cautioned temple staff to avoid such offerings.
The tusker is a frequent visitor to the temple atop Himavad Gopalaswamy hills in BTR and was branded as a ‘Gopala Bhakta’. Its frequent visit had also resulted in an increase in tourist footfall.
Commenting on the incident, BTR Director S R Natesh said that the forest department officials were not at the spot during the incident and they are being informed about it through social media.
“We are examining the case and also on the role of temple staff. We would take a suitable decision in this regard soon,” he said.