Rampaging herd of wild elephants at Bengaluru’s doors

elephant Karnataka_0.jpg

Bengaluru: A herd of wild elephants that almost entered city limits on Monday morning, were sent back by the forest teams. The herd of 14 elephants, which have been on a rampage in Malur and Hoskote for the last three days, killing four people including a journalist on Sunday afternoon, appeared on Sarjapura Road inside a school campus.
The elephants were first sighted at Inventure Academy International School campus on Sarjapura Road, after which the school declared a holiday. Another school located nearby, Head Start, also declared a holiday after the herd ventured too close to their campus.
Two persons were injured by the elephants when the herd walked out of the school campus and towards Chandapura, located off Hosur Road, about 24 km from City centre. The injured duo, D. Sham, 35, resident of Domasandra and Pilla Reddy, 50, both residents of Chandapura, had ventured closer to the herd to take photographs on their cell phones when they were attacked.
Even repeated warnings by Forest officials and the police did not deter the 7,000 plus crowd that had gathered, which delayed the operation to drive them away. The herd, which entered the state four days ago from the Krishnagiri forests in Tamil Nadu, has lost its way and efforts to drive them back into the forests were on until late on Monday night.
Deepak Sharma, Wildlife PCCF, said that the herd is trying to reestablish its old migratory route between Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh and landed up in unfamiliar territory around Bengaluru. 
"The crowd is causing a delay in our operations and we have sought the help from the police to keep the people away from elephants," Mr Sharma said.
Elephants Require Larger Forests For Survival
Dr K Ullas Karanth, Tiger Biologist and Head Wildlife Conservation Society, India
In the long run, elephants will survive only in the major forest belt of the M M Hills - Cauvery-BRT-Bandipur-Nagarhole and some areas to the North like Bhadra and Dandeli.
The elephants entering areas of high human density and agriculture like Kolar, Tumkur, and East of Bengaluru have no long-term hope of survival. Their presence and the perennial conflict it causes will antagonize human beings, with adverse consequences for the elephants.
However, in the main forest belt in the Ghats, the intrusion of human activities must be curtailed to consolidate elephant habitats and increase their carrying capacity and connectivity. Urgent attention, funding and action are needed to address the huge demand that already exists, for voluntary and fair relocation of human settlements from interiors of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks and key corridors.  
The conflict-prone elephant populations stranded amidst humans should be captured and if possible, relocated to the Western Ghats or even held in captivity depending on the case. The expert task force provides reports on populations involved long term conflict in Hassan area, which the government must implement.
Next: Herd kills nine in the last six months

Herd kills nine in the last six months
Bengaluru: The 22 elephants that entered the state last week, have killed nine people since January. This is the second consecutive year in which the herd is making its way to Andhra Pradesh through Karnataka. 
The herd, which first appeared in Malur in January, killed five farmers since March, before it was driven back to the Krishnagiri forests. 
 The Forest Department blamed the villagers who crowded around the herd, risking their own lives. “When the elephants stray into unfamiliar habitat as a herd, they are sensitive to human interference. 
Dep­rived of their original food and migratory routes, the elephants tend to attack people who approach them. If the crowd was controlled in Hoskote, the elephant herd could not have moved towards Bengaluru,” said Assistant Conservator of Forests of Kolar Division Mr Puttanna.
 Experts say this isn’t the first time that elephants have taken this route to AP. “For five years, the herds from TN?have been trying to establish their now-fragmented migratory route, destroyed by human habitation and quarrying. 
Similarly, elephants from Bannerghatta National Park are venturing towards Tumkur, with one tusker reaching Arasikere,” explained an elephant expert from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

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