People of Alur taluk have a reason to heave a sigh of relief as the Government has announced to capture and relocate wild elephants that have been straying into human habitats and attacking people and damaging crops.

It may be mentioned here that a similar exercise in 2010 to relocate two elephants proved futile.

Minister for Forests C.P. Yogeshwar recently convened a meeting of officials of the Forest Department to discuss the elephant menace in Hassan district.

At the meeting, Hassan Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Ambadi Madhav was instructed to begin preparations for capturing and relocating 25 elephants that are often straying into human habitats and causing damage in Alur taluk.

Mr. Madhav has worked out a Rs. 1.5-crore plan to relocate the 25 elephants.

He told The Hindu that he had been informed that the Union Government might give the go-ahead in a few days for the capture of elephants. “We have to procure jute ropes and set up camps for capturing the elephants,” he said. The department proposed to relocate the 25 elephants to the Cauvery basin. However, the exact location would be finalised only after the Centre clears the proposal.

In the last 10 years, 28 people have died and a man has become permanently disabled due to elephant attacks in the district. .

This time, the department has decided to shift each herd of elephants together so as to discourage them from returning. Capturing and relocating elephants is a mammoth task. The operation requires tamed elephants and trained staff. The department is planning to set up two camps at Magodi in Alur range and Kerodi in Yeslur range. Three veterinarians will be required, Mr. Madhav said. Also, this time, the department plans to procure a specially designed truck to transport the elephants.

Doubts

Even as the department is making big plans to capture and relocate the elephants, Vasanth M. Shetty, an expert in the behaviour of wild animals and Dean of the Veterinary College in Hassan, has said that this will be a temporary measure. Dr. Shetty said: “Elephants keep moving from one place to another. They normally return to the place from where they have been shifted sooner or later.”