Herd will be followed through the night lest it comes back: officials

The Forest Department renewed its efforts to drive the herd of eight elephants, which includes a calf, back into the forest on Tuesday even as the operation was hampered to a certain extent by curious people who had gathered along the routes.

The Forest personnel fired shots in the air and burst crackers to scare the herd in a bid to get it to leave a private plantation at Bandipalya, around 6 km from the city.

The herd was spotted at Rayanakere on H.D. Kote Road, around 10 km from here, on Monday but the efforts made by the Forest Department to drive it back to the Omkara wildlife block in Bandipur on Monday night did not fetch results.

The elephants came back and settled at the private plantation, close to Dalvoy lake near the Bandipalya Truck Terminal, on Tuesday.

According to information received at the time of filing this copy, the herd had reached Gejjalagere village, next to Dalvoy lake, where it was allowed to remain for some time. Officials said that the elephants would be pushed further towards the Kalalavadi and Udbur gate and back to the forest where they came from. The herd would be followed through the night lest it came back.

Four kumkis — Gajendra, Srirama, Vikrama and Prashanta — are assisting in the operation. They had arrived at the spot in the morning. Abhimanyu, another elephant which was being brought from Mathigodu camp, near Thithimathi, was sent back on Monday as the herd had started retreating.

The police had blocked entry to the ring road, opposite the truck terminal, for people and vehicles, while Forest personnel guarded the plantation area where the elephants had taken shelter on Tuesday.

A man who was cutting grass in a swampy area, close to the Dalvoy lake, in the early hours on Tuesday fled after sighting the elephants.

Appeal to people

Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mysore, D.S. Gaonkar, appealed to people not to come in the elephants’ path. He said the herd, which was driven from Rayanakere on Monday evening and had crossed the Talur gate area, apparently diverted its path owing to the noise of firecrackers burst by village residents to mark Kartikamasa festival.

Field Director, Project Elephant, Udaya Kumar; Chief Conservator of Forests, Mysore, K.M. Markandeya; veterinarians Nagaraj and Prayag; Nanjangud Range Forest Officer, S. Jayashekar, are involved in the operation.

Akram Pasha, an expert in firing tranquiliser darts, is also part of the team and has been told to be ready in case of an emergency.

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