An elephant that lost its way killed two speech and hearing impaired persons in six days in Tumkur and Chitradurga districts.
In the first instance, 50-year-old Boothabovi was killed at Boothakatanahalli in Hiriyur taluk in Chitradurga district on July 30 and then 60-year-old Hanumaiah was trampled upon by the elephant at Mookanahallipatna in Gubbi taluk in Tumkur district on August 1.
The two men were killed in the morning by the same tusker which got separated from its herd at Advangi forest in Nelamangala taluk in Bangalore Rural district.
The tusker entered the district on July 27 and moved towards Sira taluk, then entered Chitradurga district on July 29.
According to experts, elephants usually attack people during dawn and dusk as their vision gets blurred.
Assistant Conservator of Forests Devaraj told The Hindu that an elephant’s vision is be blurred during dawn and dusk and when it sees people, fearing an attack from them, it attacks them.
He said that vision of the elephant slowly adjusts to brightness from darkness in the morning and vice-versa in the evening. However, the elephant’s vision is sharp in the night.
Such attacks are rare during day and night because the elephants themselves move away from approaching people or animals when they are able to see clearly during day and night.
He said that both the deaths occurred in the morning one at 6.15 a.m. and the other at 6.20 a.m. when the tusker had blurred vision resulting in a behavioural disorder.
Four people, three from Tumkur and one from Ramanagaram district, were killed in elephant attacks in three weeks in March-April this year.
According to experts, migration is natural to elephants and hence, they move in their usual corridors to different places in search of food and habitat.
The elephant corridors are Bannerghatta forest to Savandurga forest and Ujjini forest to Markonahalli dam; Hebbur to C.S. Pura and Mavinahalli to Kallur-Nittur; Shivagange to Devarakere to Honnudike-Gulur-Gangasandra; Malla- sandra tank to Gubbi-Chikkanayakanahalli- Bukapatna forest; and Savandurga- Shivagange- Devarahosahalli- Hirehalli-Shettihalli and Tumkur.
Environmentalist C. Yathiraju said that encroachment of elephant corridors force elephants to lose their way, and people are also to blamed as they create disturbance when they see the pachyderms. Elephants get enraged when they lose their way. Elephants get frightened when they come across people or domestic animals and they resort to attacks in a bid to save themselves.
Forest cover has not increased proportionately to the increasing elephant numbers. Lack of habitat is also driving the elephants to agricultural fields.
Another environmentalist B.V. Gundappa said that scarcity of food, thriving stone quarries, increase in jungle resorts and tourism activity in the forests are forcing elephants to move to peaceful areas and to agricultural fields.
The use of explosives for blasting stones in stone quarries surrounding Bannerghatta forest disturbs elephants forcing them to flee.
Interference by people in elephant territory in the name of tourism has made the life of pachyderms worse in the Bannerghatta forest.