“Though, relocation of elephants goes against conservation measures, it is an inevitable step which has to be taken to mitigate human-animal conflict,” said a forest official in Hassan, adding that some 20 rogue elephants need to be caught and shifted from Sakleshpur of the 60 elephants roaming in the region.
Since, 2012-13, forest officials have caught 24 rogue elephants and most of them have been accommodated in different elephant camps. Only a couple of them have been relocated in Bandipur where their movements have been studied. “In fact, relocation of elephants was part of a study to know whether they return to their old habitat. The relocated jumbos have not returned to their erstwhile territory,” said the official.
Backing the idea of relocation of rogue elephants, ecologist and Prof of IISc, Bengaluru, Raman Sukumar told DC on Sunday, “In South Africa, not just solitary elephants, entire elephant families have been relocated and we need to have such expertise.”
Mudigere sub-division of Chikkamagaluru is another problematic area where its Assistant Conservator of Forests Dinesh Kumar, says a proposal to capture eight rogue elephants has been sent to the government while permission has been granted to capture one.
“We get complaints of elephants raiding fields daily and send teams to drive them into the forests. But they return,” he adds. With elephants continuing to trouble coffee planters, president of Karnataka Growers Federation, Jairam wants immediate steps to be taken by forest officials to save plantations damaged regularly by moving elephant herds in Sakleshpur, Alur in Hassan district, Mudigere in Chikkamgaluru and Kodagu.