‘Onlookers, who had gathered along the route, hampered the operation to an extent’

The Forest Department team on Wednesday managed to drive back the herd of eight elephants — spotted first at Rayanakere on the outskirts of Mysore on Monday and then at Bandipalya on Tuesday — 20 km away from the city.

At the time of filing this report, according to K.B. Markandeya, Chief Conservator of Forests, Mysore Circle, the herd was holed up at a hillock near Arashinakere close to Chikkadevanabetta in the vicinity of the Kabini reservoir.

As usual, a number of anxious onlookers had gathered along the route, hampering the operation to an extent, Mr. Markandeya said. The Forest team was pursuing the herd exercising caution to see to it that the elephants did not turn back, he added.

According to a source, the herd split into two groups late in the night on Tuesday, but regrouped in the morning. This information, however, could not be confirmed.

The Forest personnel fired shots in the air and burst crackers to scare the herd. The elephants were pushed further from Gejjalagere village on Wednesday where they had camped for some time on Tuesday night.

Four kumkis — Gajendra, Srirama, Vikrama and Prashanta — are assisting in the operation to drive the elephants back to the Omkara wildlife block from where they are suspected to have strayed. Police personnel too are part of the operation.

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