New habitat: Relocated elephants struggle to adapt (Hassan, India)


MB Girish, Deccan Herald

Date Published

See link for photo of elephant.

Under pressure from local people, forest personnel, who caught a rogue elephant on Wednesday in Sakleshpur,  shifted it to the Bandipur National Park, on Thursday although such relocation hasn’t met with much success in the past.

While over the years several rogue elephants caught in Hassan have been shifted to various camps in the state, two elephants were radio-collared to see if they would adapt to their new habitats or return to their old.

The result was not encouraging as one of the radio-collared elephants returned to its previous habitat within 12 days and the other returned to the Sakleshpur forests after 45 days. “We have again shifted a rogue elephant hoping it will settle down in a new habitat,” said a forest official, keeping his fingers crossed.

He, however fears that the relocated elephant could get a hostile reception from other elephantsin Bandipur and return to Sakleshpur.

“We hope that at least some of the relocated elephants will eventually settle down in their new habitats and help reduce the man-animal conflict in Sakleshpur, which has cost many human lives and led to extensive crop damage,” said a forest official.

Prof. Raman Sukumar of the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the IISc in Bengaluru, says  that young elephants are more likely to settle down in a new habitat than the older ones.