In the backwaters of the Machanabele dam, a 40-year-old injured elephant has become the cynosure of all eyes, particularly of the villagers and Forest Department.
Five officers are keeping a watch on the injured elephant, fondly called ‘Sidda’, and ensure it gets its share of food and medicines.
Villagers on the banks of the reservoir allow the elephant to stray onto their fields and feed on the crops, say forest officials.
Sidda was injured a month ago after falling into a ditch near Dodderi (close to the Big Banyan Tree) off Mysuru Road while moving from Savandurga forest towards Bannerghatta National Park. The tusker had suffered injuries to its leg, shoulder and stomach, and officials said it has become virtually blind.
On September 11, the elephant was spotted in Machanabele dam – nursing its wounds and trying to reduce the pressure on its injured right leg by floating in the water – and has remained there since then.
Since it is rare for wild elephants to be treated, the Forest Department had formed a committee to decide the next course of action.
“We looked at all the angles, including rescuing the elephant. We decided we cannot place him in a camp as it would be dangerous. Things can go wrong while tranquilising him, and this can cause further injury. Moreover, as there is a swelling in the leg, the elephant needs to be near a large water body to reduce the pressure. We will not find this in our camps,” said Dileep Kumar Das, CCF Project Elephant.
With villagers keen to help Sidda, it was decided that the reservoir is the best place for the elephant to rest and recuperate.