Elephant attacks kill four in three weeks in Tumkur and Ramanagaram

Four persons have died in elephant attacks in the last three weeks in Tumkur and Ramanagaram districts. Experts say lack of fodder and water in the Bannerghatta National park are driving the pachyderms to neighbouring districts.

B.V. Gundappa, chairman, Wild life Awareness Nature Club, said the stone quarries around the Bannerghatta National Park were disturbing the elephants. The encroachment of forest land had made the situation worse.

Six elephants entered Tumkur district on March 17 from the national park. On the same day, a shepherd, Balaiah (35), was trampled to death at Kumkumanahalli farm in Tumkur taluk by an elephant.

He was sleeping in the farm when the elephant stamped him.

On March 30, Lacha Naika (40), was killed by an elephant when he was chasing a herd on a motorcycle with his friend in Tiptur taluk. The panicked elephants turned back and trampled him to death. On April 5, Yogesh (25) was killed at C.S. Pura in Gubbi taluk when he irritated a pachyderm by pulling its tail.

On April 6, Ranganath (36), was killed at Bettadahalli in Magadi taluk, Ramanagaram district, by the same herd which were returning to Bannerghatta from Tumkur.

Elephants have been straying into the district since 1998 from the Bannerghatta National park through the 400-km long elephant corridor and they return through the same route.

The elephant corridor starts from Bannerghatta national park and goes through Bidadi, Kanakapura and Magadi in Ramangaram district, Shivagange in Bangalore Rural district, Devalakere, Devarahosahalli, Olakallu, Mallasandra, Gubbi, Nittur, Chikkanayakanahalli, Tiptur and Turuvekere in Tumkur district.

Mr. Gundappa said awareness should be created among village residents and they must be warned not to go near the animals. More police personnel would have to be deployed while driving them back to the forests.

Narasimhamurthy, Range Forest Officer, told The Hindu: “We find it difficult to drive the elephants back to the forest as hundreds of village residents gather in the area. They make noise, burst crackers, follow the elephants on their motorcycles, throw stones or set things on fire to avoid the animals entering their fields.”

P.B. Karunakar, Deputy Conservator of Forests, said elephants would not kill or harm any body until they were provoked.

“Elephants will have to be contained in the forest by providing fodder and water,” he added.

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