Even as the Forest personnel in HD?Kote were heaving a sigh of relief after a herd of four jumbos were learnt to have returned to the forest, their counterparts in Hassan had a tough time driving away a herd of 23 elephants camping in the region.
At HD?Kote, the Forest department and the police personnel were successful in driving away the four tuskers into the forests. According to sources, the jumbos were driven into the forests via Annuru village near Veeranahosahalli around midnight on Tuesday.
The jumbos had reached Devalapura, eight kilometre from HD?Kote town, on Tuesday evening. The department officials took part in the night-long operation.
Realising that the pachyderms would enter the village and cause losses to lives and properties, they conducted the operation on Tuesday night. By midnight, they were successful in driving the elephants to the forest.
It is said that one elephant had escaped during the operation and had created anxiety among the personnel. They immediately informed the higher officials, who directed them to find the jumbo by tracing its footprints. As it was approximately one kilometre behind the other jumbos, it became difficult to reunite it with the herd. But finally, the forest personnel succeeded.
As many as 23 wild jumbos raided a coffee plantation destroying crops worth lakhs of rupees at Sakleshpur, Hassan district, on Wednesday.
According to local residents, the elephants were spotted at Odduru, IBC estate, Honkaravalli and surrounding areas on Tuesday and camped the whole day at the Tata Coffee estate, destroying crops. The news of jumbos spread like wildfire, causing jitters among the people. The plucking of coffee beans has been stopped temporarily in the nearby estates as a precautionary measure.
Range Forest Officer Sudarshan told Deccan Herald that while seven jumbos were spotted at Odduru village, 13 were found at IBC estate on Tuesday. According to a forest guard, a herd of 23 elephants were spotted at Bage village on Wednesday. The operation to drive away the elephants by bursting crackers began at 6.30 pm.