Residents of Bangarpet and Malur taluks in Kolar district have been bearing the brunt of the increasing instances of human-elephant conflict in the last couple of years.
Police and Forest Department personnel and residents of villages bordering Tamil Nadu spend sleepless nights when elephants enter human habitats, damage standing crops, and attack people.
C. Mune Gowda, Deputy Conservator of Forests, said: “The last time the district witnessed elephant menace was in 1984. It cropped up again in 2011 and is still continuing.”
Elephants stray into forests in Kolar district through Beraki, bordering Tamil Nadu. From there they enter Malur via Mookanur and move towards the Andhra Pradesh border.
They take the same route to go back to the forests in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Mune Gowda said.
Though no specific reason was attributed to the entry of elephants to the region, it is widely believed that they come in search of food and water in the forests.
Among the eight people killed in elephant attacks this year in the district, five were from Bangarpet taluk and three from Malur. Two people were trampled to death by elephants in Bangarpet taluk in 2012.
Tuskers become wild only when they are disturbed by the village residents, says Bagarpet Range Forest Officer Chandrashekahar Reddy.
When a herd of about two dozen elephants strayed into Bangarpet taluk recently, no harm was caused to the people because of extensive awareness programme, Mr. Reddy said.
Kamasamudra, Yergol, Battalahalli, and Shivalingam in Bangarpet taluk, and Masti in Malur taluk bordering Tamil Nadu are some of the areas frequented by elephants.
Farmers in Dinneri, Hulkur, Sonnahalli, Chakanahalli, Kuntur, Chikkakadatur, Tamatamakanahalli, Banganatta, Thoppanahalli, Chikkakalavanachi, Kundarasanahalli, Sakarasanahalli and a number of other places suffered crop loss when the wild animals entered there this year.
People in urban areas like KGF and Betamangala too got panicked when the tuskers strayed into the surrounding areas. Crops such as water melon, banana, ragi, jowar, paddy and tomato were destroyed.
“We could grow some crops this year because of better rainfall. However, the elephants destroyed them,” Sampangiramaiah, a farmer of Battalahalli, said.