Forest Dept. drive to chase away elephants continues in Sullia (India)


RAGHAVA M., The Hindu

Date Published
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As many as five teams of forest personnel and villagers are involved in the drive to chase way a herd of elephants in Mandekolu — the birthplace of Railway Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda — and neighbouring villages in Sullia.
While two teams were involved in beating drums and bursting crackers, two more teams are monitoring the movement of the pachyderms. A team of officials including Deputy Conservator of Forests Hanumatappa and Assistant Conservator of Forests Dinesh Kumar Y.K., is directing the operations.
A herd of elephants that includes a baby elephant, has been moving around Kalladka, Peraje and Akkapady near Mandekolu for the last three days. On Monday, the herd was seen near Kanyana, also near Mandekolu. The herd has been entering fields and damaging the standing crops.
Mr. Kumar said efforts were on to drive the elephants towards Mandekolu and Aletti forests. Mr. Kumar said the elephants were slowly moving towards the woods. “We hope to complete the operation in the next two days,” he said. Forest personnel from Sakaleshpur and Madikeri, who are trained in driving elephants, were involved in the operation, he said.
On Monday, the herd chased the driving personnel when they went too close to the animals. “We are trying to maintain a distance of about 300 metres,” Mr. Kumar said. The operation was being done during the day. During the night crackers will be burst at regular intervals to prevent the pachyderms from coming back to villages, he said.
Extent of damage
On Sunday, Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim visited villages near Mandekolu and met the villagers whose fields had been damaged. Mr. Ibrahim directed the Revenue authorities to prepare a report about the extent of damage at the earliest.
Villagers demanded that Mr. Ibrahim take steps for translocation of elephants as a similar problem was noticed four months ago. The Forest officials said translocation would be taken up if the elephants were found to be rogue.