The congregation of elephant herds at the Kabini backwaters has begun to unfold, much to the delight of wildlife enthusiasts and tourists.
An annual phenomena which peaks during summer, scores of elephants have been sighted at Kabini backwaters in the last couple of days. Their numbers are expected to increase in the weeks ahead.
The spectacle is unique in the country, as innumerable elephants can be sighted at one spot and herd after herd roll out of the forest to bask in the the backwaters.
Long-term observers of wildlife aver that the numbers are definitely less compared to earlier years as the elephants are enticed not by water but by the fresh grass that grows in the backwater bed once they are dry. Besides, there is enough fodder and water inside the forests this year.
“There is sufficient water in the backwaters compared to earlier years and this has inhibited the growth of grass. But with a long spell of dry season ahead and the Irrigation Department likely to discharge water for standing crops, the days ahead will see a dip in water-level which will facilitate the offshoot of grass that will draw more elephants,” according to D. Rajkumar of Wildlife Conservation Foundation. He told The Hindu that there were around 1,800 elephants in Bandipur, and roughly about 800 to 900 elephants in Nagarahole.
Some migrate to Wayanad belt given the moist deciduous forests there. However, the elephant distribution pattern has changed, with the larger herds splitting themselves into smaller ones and spreading out to avoid competition for fodder and water.
For visitors it will be a feast for the eyes to soak in the magic of Kabini till the first few spells of rain. which will last till the first few spells of rains.