BENGALURU: Looks like Ranga has given up his ‘rowdy’ ways. Recently shifted from Bannerghatta National Park, the 50-year-old tusker is getting accustomed to life at Mattigodu elephant camp in Nagarahole National Park. Caretakers say the elephant is no longer aggressive and is responding to their commands.
The tusker’s hostile behaviour — be it raiding agricultural fields or getting into conflict with humans — in the past had earned him the prefix ‘rowdy’.
“We needn’t keep Ranga in a kraal anymore,” said Dr Umashankar, veterinarian with the forest department, who led the recent relocation exercise.
Two camps in Nagarahole, Balle and Mattigodu house around 40 elephants which have been captured over the years by the forest department in order to avoid man-elephant conflict.
May be named after ruler
Umashankar said staffers at the Mattigodu camp feel there’s a need to rename Ranga, and more importantly, get rid of the ‘rowdy’ tag. “Some mahouts have suggested the elephant be called Sriranga, one of the names of Lord Vishnu.
Sources in the forest department said Ranga will be tamed further to help them capture wild elephants in cases of conflict. Foresters say he will also help them in patrolling remote forest areas.
‘Nagarahole better place for Ranga’
Rakshith Gowda, a medical student, who spearheaded an online campaign demanding Ranga’s release into the wild, said, “Though it’s painful to see Ranga in captivity, Nagarahole is a better place for him compared to the kraal in Bannerghatta. I was told he will remain chained for a few more weeks till he gets acclimatized to camp atmosphere. Hope he leads a better life in future.”
Animal lovers said, “Elephants in captivity have no other way but to adjust. It’s just that some animals take time to get used to camp life. But capturing elephants will not reduce human-elephant conflict. Soon there will be other wild elephants which will occupy the vacant space,” said an activist.