Senior IFoS officer killed by wild tusker in Nagarahole

Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep and other officials paying tribute to senior IFS officer and the Conservator of Forests S. Manikandan in Mysuru on Saturday.

Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep and other officials paying tribute to senior IFS officer and the Conservator of Forests S. Manikandan in Mysuru on Saturday.  

Manikandan was assessing damage caused to the forest by a fire near Kakanakote

A senior IFoS officer S. Manikandan, who was the Conservator of Forests and also director of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, died under tragic circumstances after being attacked by a wild tusker in the jungles on Saturday.

The incident took place at around 1.30 p.m. in the D.B. Kuppe range of Nagarahole National Park (Rajiv Gandhi National Park) where the officer had gone to assess the damage to the forests caused by a fire near Kakanakote beat close to the Kabini backwaters.

Sources in the Forest Department said Manikandan, 45, was accompanied by about 10 to 15 staff including the Range Forest Officer Subramani. While inspecting the damage by the fire and taking the GPS reading, a tusker – apparently camouflaged by vegetation – trumpeted and charged at the group from the side, catching them off guard.

While the forest guards and the watchers ran in the opposite direction, RFO Subramani ducked to take cover. The elephant turned towards Manikandan who stumbled while trying to escape, lost his balance and fell and was trampled upon. Mr. Subramani escaped with minor injures.

A forest watcher, who was part of the group, said the incident was over in seconds. The accompanying staff raised an alarm to distract the elephant but it charged, forcing them to run for cover. Soon afterwards, it disappeared into the jungles. Sources said though the guards were armed, the elephant emerged suddenly giving them no time to react.

The staff immediately regrouped and rushed the injured officer to H.D. Kote hospital in the jeep waiting on Mysuru-Manadawadi Road, a few hundred meters from the scene. However, efforts by the doctors to revive the officer failed and he was declared dead.

The remains of Manikandan were shifted to Mysuru where a guard of honour was presented to him by the Forest Department staff and the district administration. The body was then shifted to K.R. Hospital for an autopsy.

Manikandan was a 2001 batch officer and a native of Theni district in Tamil Nadu. He is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter. An official confirmed that the last rites would be conducted at his native place.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 5:30:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/senior-ifos-officer-killed-by-wild-tusker-in-nagarahole/article22921469.ece

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