Operation Jumbo capture ends, but  tragedy follows (Bengaluru, India)


Meera Bhardwaj, New Indian Express

Date Published

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Even as Operation Jumbo Capture in Bengaluru Rural forest division concluded with the capture of two tuskers and their relocation to Bandipur forest regions, a 22-year-old youth died in the same forest region when he was attacked by a wild elephant in the early hours ofFriday.
It is reported that that a single tusker which had come to Devarahosahalli Kere along with two other pachyderms, moved out to Gangenapura village in Nelamangala taluk where it attacked the youth grievously injuring him, resulting in his death on the spot. Now this pachyderm too has been identified for relocation with the Bengaluru rural DCF being assigned this task.

At 8:30 pm on Thursday, the final day of Operation Jumbo Capture,  the second tusker, a 25-year-oldwas tranquillized and captured and transported to Bandipur forest. The third tusker slated for capture died on December 18 in Magadi taluk.
Chief Conservator of Forests, Bengaluru Division Kariyappa told Express, “The operation to capture two elephants has been completed, however, two more are on the cards as one has killed a youth today while another has been causing serious disturbances. This is under consideration and once the chief wildlife warden grants permission, the operations to catch them will begin.”

The all male group
The captured elephants are part of a ‘group of nine male elephants’ that have separated and moved out of their herds and have been roaming from Bannerghata to Tumakuru from the last four to five years. This group comprised three adults and six sub-adults. Unfortunately, two from this group died this month – Sidda on December 8 and another tusker (identified for capture in these operations) died on December 18th. Two adults in the group are popular and have been named Ranga and Airawat.

Concrete measures
The CCF adds, “Since it is an all-male group and some of them have been given popular names, it is difficult to say which is causing problem. We are taking all precautions and measures to keep them away from human settlements. To contain and restrict their activity, we have built a 4-kilometre railway barricade and there is a proposal to add another 5 kilometres. However, they are the most intelligent animals and easily find new avenues to overcome these barriers and enter villages and get into conflict situations.” The time has now come where people have to learn to co-exist with these gentle giants as they do not hurt or kill unless a person is in their pathway or disturbs them, he said.

Kariyappa adds, “The attacks are usually happening between late night and early morning and people have to be educated about this so that unknowingly, they do not get into conflict situations. What we are doing now is crisis management and taking concrete measures like building solar fencing, railway barricades and also relocation. But all said and done, co-existence with precautionary measures and educating the people, is the only solution.”