The Makhna (tuskless male) elephant that fatally trampled two CRPF personnel near the Bannerghatta National Park (BNP), about 35 km south of Bengaluru, early on Sunday morning is suspected to have come from the adjacent Savandurga forest.
Forest officials suspect the tuskless male elephant set out from Savandurga, passed through Mysuru Road (near Kumbalgod) and Kanakapura Road and reached the Bhuthanahalli reserve forest near Taralu village.
The Makhna, aged between 35 and 40, repeatedly tried to jump over a rail barricade to enter the forest patch but failed. At this juncture, it came across the two CRPF personnel and brutally attacked them. It then ran away and hopped over a rail fence but fell down, injuring its limbs and abdomen. It, however, managed to run into the BNP, forest officials said.
In the meantime, a sub-adult tusker which had accompanied the Makhna broke a compound wall near Hakki Pikki Colony to enter the Ragihalli state forest. This has been confirmed by pug marks around the site.
Javed Mumtaz, Deputy Conservator of Forests, BNP, said the Makhna and the sub-adult tusker were part of an all-male tusker group. They are now in the BNP and the Forest Department is trying to keep a watch on them. The herd had previously drawn the attention of scientists and forest officials as they roamed freely from the BNP to Tamil Nadu and back, along the elephant corridor. Scientists and forest officials have been tracking the herd for the last one decade. The herd, however, broke off recently. While two tuskers were captured and sent to the Bandipur Tiger Reserve last December, two others were captured and rehabilitated in the Bannerghatta kraal. Two were electrocuted early this year while one Sidda died after a prolonged illness last December.
Mumtaz said the department was checking all camera trap details to zero in on the attacker elephant and the other pachyderm. “There are 23 cameras in the BNP forest limits; seven of them are in the BNP forest. The forest patch is being combed to locate the pachyderms,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents of Uttarahalli and Nelamangala reported seeing two elephants heading towards Kaggalipura in the early hours of Sunday. “We have registered a case under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,” Kaggalipura Police Inspector Krishna Kumar.