Mysuru: Panic gripped Kuppegala village near Mysuru after a herd of five elephants from the nearby Muthathi forest, which falls under the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, entered it on Monday night.
The herd, comprising a calf, two male and two female elephants, seems to have travelled around 70 km, crossing the Mysuru-Malavalli, Mysuru-Bannur, Mysuru-T Narsipura highways. The elephants are currently near a lake at Inamu Huthanahalli hamlet.
On sighting the elephants, the terrified villagers immediately alerted forest officials, who rushed to the spot to drive the animals back to the forest. Deputy Conservator of Forest (DCF) Karikalan, DCF (wildlife) Kamala and 40 officials of the forest department are at the village to monitor the situation.
Even as police personnel struggled to monitor traffic on the highways, villagers flocked to stare at the elephants and forest officials tried to chase the beasts back to the forest using drumbeats and firecrackers.
Forest officials said they plan to chase the animals to the woods through Holekempaiana Hundi, Bannur and Kaggalipura, which are on the forest fringes. The animals are expected to find their way to the forest once they reach Kaggalipura.
The forest department has created three teams to handle the operation. Late Tuesday night, the elephants were yet to budge from Kuppegala and forest officials brought in 30 torches for the operation.