The treatment of a wild elephant that was injured after it fell into a depression while attempting to cross Bidadi main road has sparked fury among villagers. The 25-year-old pachyderm — fondly referred to as Sidda by villagers in Ramohalli, Chikkanahalli and Manchanbelle dam area, where it was often seen – suffered a broken leg, was blinded in one eye, and had other injuries.
Villagers in the area, however, are accusing the range officers and forest guards of gross negligence. They claim that they immediately alerted forest department officials when they saw the injured elephant struggling to stand, let alone walk; but no help was forthcoming.
In fact, villagers claim that when the range officers did arrive, they simply dragged the elephant to the Mancha-n-belle backwaters, rather than treat it on the spot.
Pandiyan, a villager who witnessed the event said, “We spotted the elephant lying in Doddanna layout in Ramohalli. It was struggling to stand on its feet. We called the range officer and informed him about the situation. Around 10 forest guards and watchers burst firecrackers to scare the elephant and make it move towards the backwaters. It was a sad situation to see the forest department treating an injured elephant is such a way.”
Range forest officer, AL Dalesh, however, claims that it was the villagers who set off the firecrackers “as they feared the elephant would come into the village and damage their crops and homes”.
Sources in the forest department claim that as the elephant was wild, it could not be captured and treated, and hence it is only being monitored and fed, although a veterinarian did administer treatment in the wild. Presently, the elephant is in the Manchanbella backwaters, where it is still unable to walk and spends most of its time in the water.