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in Andhra Pradesh who aren’t letting the jumbos pass into CM Naidu’s turf.
The Karnataka Forest Department (KFD) is caught between a rock and a hard place. While on the one hand it is grappling with the problem of elephants straying into human settlements in Bengaluru Rural and Kolar districts, on the other, getting the herds going further on into the elephant corridor (that passes through Andhra Pradesh as well as Tamil Nadu) is turning out to be a task. Forests officials at the Andhra border are chasing these elephants back into Karnataka, fearing man-animal conflict in their state.
Despite capturing two elephants from the forests near Nelamangala in a span of three days, a major setback came when a young farmer was trampled to death on Thursday night. “We had advised people not to come out in the night and even imposed Section 144. Despite these precautions, one farmer was returning from the fields late night and was killed. Ex gratia has been given to the family and permission has been given to capture the elephant too. Hopefully, by Saturday, we will capture the animal,” said Nelamangala Range Forest Officer Nagaraj.
State officials, therefore, are caught between angry locals in Nelamangala, and Andhra officials who are not letting the elephants pass.
Held up in the forests that share boundaries with Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, a herd of seven elephants has led to this argument between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While the KFD officials are trying to drive them further along the elephant corridor that goes through Andhra, the neighbouring state forest officials are driving them back into the state.
Explaining the problem, VS Ramalinge Gowda, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Kolar, said: “The stretch is part of the elephant corridor that spreads from Hogenakkal in Tamil Nadu to Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh via Bangarpet, KGF regions in Kolar district of Karnataka. If these elephants don’t get a passage through the Ramakuppam forests (Kuppam in Andhra Pradesh), they will have to take a detour of 35-40 km, cutting through several villages and fields.”
HERE’S THE REASON WHY
Gowda said that if the animals were allowed to pass through Kuppam’s 1.5-km stretch of elephant corridor, all should have been well. But Kuppam happens to be the constituency of Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and the Andhra forest officials are worried that if these elephants go on a rampage around Kuppam, they may have to face the CM’s wrath. “This is why they won’t want the elephants to pass through this stretch,” said Gowda.
The officials have been setting up fires and bursting crackers to chase the elephants back into Karnataka. “I have already requested our Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Wildlife, to speak with his counterpart in Andhra Pradesh to make way for these elephants. We are awaiting orders from the higher ups. The elephants, meanwhile, have been moving around Doddagandlahalli and Ghatta Madamangala villages of Bangarpet taluk along the border,” he said.
PCCF, Wildlife, BJ Hosmath told Bangalore Mirror that the department has been making all efforts to resolve the issue. “We have been in touch with the Andhra Pradesh forest department over this. We hope it will be resolved in a few days,” he said.