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Speaking to Bangalore Mirror of the rescue operation, ACF Prasanna Kumar said, “My team successfully drove the two elephants where they belonged. It was around 11.30 am when we spotted an elephant trapped in a tank filled with silt. With the help of the department elephant Ganesh, we pulled the trapped elephant out of the tank and drove it back to the forest. A little later, we spotted another elephant about 300 meters from the waterbody. This one was attracted by a maize field and had to be sent back to the forests, which we did around 5.30 pm.”
Some ragi and maize fields in the area were destroyed, probably by the two, who may have got hurt if the farmers of these fields attacked them to protect their crops.
“Before any such thing could happen, we arrived at the scene and rescued the elephants,” he added. The biggest challenge for the officials during the operation was handling the crowds. “Despite requesting people over a public address system not to disturb the operation, people in large numbers hovered around, making it difficult for us to concentrate on rescuing the elephants. While some ran behind the animals, others threw stones and shouted at the scared elephants. In such cases, it is important for people to co-operate,” he said.
Locals suspect that a herd of elephants may have visited the village in the middle of the night of which one got trapped in the tank. The other probably stayed behind to help the trapped. RFOs Subrahmanya and Kiran Kumar, range officer Padmashree, who were part of the operation, were supported by the Mysuru district police.
FARMERS TO BE COMPENSATED
Those farmers who suffered damage to their crops will be compensated in accordance with rules of the Forest department, according to the ACF. “In addition, the department will secure their farms with solar fencing and dig elephant-proof trenches,” he said.