MADIKERI: Villagers in Kodagu have blamed 'unscientific' elephant chasing operations for the growing footfall of wild jumbos, which they say is haunting their livelihoods. This comes after a man driving a car managed to escape after a wild elephant suddenly appeared in front of him on the road in Maldare village limits in Kodagu.
Muthappa, a bank employee working in Ponnampet, was driving in his car towards Mysuru on Sunday. At Badaga-Banangala village near Siddapura, a wild tusker came onto the main road from inside a nearby estate. A worried Muthappa sped into the estate to avoid it but the vehicle crashed into a tree. The tree split into two making a loud sound, following which the elephant is said to have fled from the spot. Since the airbags in the car opened following the crash, Muthappa escaped with minor injuries.
Villagers, meanwhile, say they are regularly haunted by such incidents, adding that even getting out for a morning walk has become next to impossible due to the increased footfall of elephants. Further, they spoke out against the 'unscientific' elephant chasing operations undertaken by the forest department.
“The crops across our estates are constantly damaged following the elephant menace. While the department has to take measures to stop elephant entry into the villages, they are often involved in an unscientific mission of chasing the elephants back into forest without prior information – causing more damage to our crops,” said Chengappa, a coffee grower in the village. He alleged that the department carries these chasing operations without prior notice, risking the lives of labourers in the estates. He also explained that the elephants are often chased from one estate into another. “After all the unscientific chasing operations, the elephant herd is back in the village in a day or two,” he added.