‘Sounds made by animals, birds signal jumbo presence’ (Bengaluru, India)


Times of India

Date Published

The 10-member team from Nelamangala’s regional forest office in Bengaluru Rural district returned on Monday night after the day-long operation to capture the wild elephants proved to be unsuccessful.

All set to have dinner at 10:30pm, the team received a call from the base camp (about 10km away) of the operation informing them about a wild elephant and its calf resting near the camp. By the time the team rushed to the base camp with their equipment, the wild jumbo and its calf had vanished. Not giving up hope, the team resumed the search operation at 4am on Tuesday.

So, how does the team exactly go hunting for the elephants? The strong odour that emanates from the body of elephants helps the foresters know about their presence in an area. “If you are familiar with elephants, you can smell their body odour, which is quite strong. The jumbos leave their odour even on the tree branches and shrubs they brush past. The team also looks for their footprints, clearly visible if the forest land is wet,” said DFO Nagaraj.

A mahout, who is part of the team, said they look for unique signals and sounds made by other animals and birds in the forest when elephants are around. “These signals and sounds help us plan a trap for the wild elephants. We also keep track of the water holes jumbos regularly visit,” he said.

On Tuesday, a mega team of over 100 foresters set out for the woods of Nelamangala and Magadi. Mahouts sitting on five trained elephants also joined the search in the dense forest ranges. The operation, however, had no luck with the elephant herd splitting into smaller groups. The team managers later met in the afternoon and laid out an alternative plan to capture the tuskers. But, they may have to wait for another couple of days for their first catch.