Herd of four elephants close to H.D. Kote

A herd of four elephants have ventured close to H.D.Kote town in Mysuru district and are less than a km from the taluk headquarters.

The elephants have ensconced themselves in the sugarcane fields and banana plantation belonging to a local resident and efforts are on to divert the herd to the nearest forests.

They are suspected to be part of a larger herd of eight elephants and may have split while being driven back into their natural habitat. While four elephants retraced their steps to the Sollepura forests of the Nagarahole National Park, the remaining four lost their way and are venturing close to the town.

The Deputy Conservator of Forests Karikalan told The Hindu that the elephants were first sighted on Sunday and they have been playing hide and seek with the forest officials since then – making a brief appearance outside the agricultural fields and hiding in the thicket of the sugarcane fields where they have since found a sanctuary.

“Though there are 80 Forest Department staff besides 20 policemen the local residents are crowding around the site as a result of which the elephants are staying put in the safety of the sugarcane fields,” said Mr. Karikalan.

He said they will wait till evening for the crowd to disperse and then try to nudge the elephants back to the nearest forest which is about 3.5 km from their present place.

‘’If the elephants were to retrace their steps and head back to Sollepura forests from where they strayed out, then it will be a 20 km drive and hence we intend to push them into Boothanuru close to Shantipura bordering Hunsur which is about 3.5 km,” he added. In the event the elephants cannot be nudged back into the forests by Tuesday night, then the authorities plan to rope in the services of trained elephants on Wednesday.

Based on the profile of the herd which comprises three tuskers and one female, the authorities suspect it to be part of the same herd which had entered Hunsur town in 2013. Both Bandipur and Nagarahole harbour about 2,800 to 3,000 elephants as per the 2012 estimations but only about 40 of them tend to raid crops on the forest fringes, say the officials.

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Printable version | Oct 3, 2022 8:18:20 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/herd-of-four-elephants-close-to-hd-kote/article7961552.ece