Operation jumbos begin; male elephants prime target

Operation jumbos begin; male elephants prime target

60 staff members, four vets and ten pachyderms part of exercise

Despite minor hiccups, the operation by the Forest department to capture 23 wild elephants, responsible for loss of life and property in Alur and Sakleshpur taluks of Hassan district, was launched on Wednesday.

Staff of the Forest department, were tracking a male elephant responsible for trampling a farmer, Krishnegowda of Kallare village, from late afternoon. Deputy Conservator of Forests, Appu Rao said that trackers had spotted female elephants, but the elephant targeted by the Forest department for capture, was not spotted.

A team of 60 staff members, four veterinary doctors, officials and ten elephants are being used for the operation, he said. A camp for elephants taking part in the operation has been set up at Maadihalli. “In the coming days, two more camps will be setup, depending on where the elephants are present. The location for the camps are yet to be finalised,” he said.

Primary objective

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Vinay Luthra said that the primary objective of the operation was to capture a makhna elephant and few other tuskers, which had caused much damage in the region. “Elephant Task Force had identified 25 elephants which were in conflict with humans. Two elephants have been captured in the last two months,” he said.

Male elephants

He said that two teams, consisting of four doctors, equipped with dart guns will take part in the operation on a daily basis. First, the department will capture all male elephants, as the animals are solitary and cause more damages, than animals in groups. “After the capture of male elephants, we will capture elephants which are in family groups,” he said. 

Three family groups, with three to four elephants in each group has been identified, he said.On the duration required to capture the elephants which are in conflict witjh humans, Luthra said that it would be difficult to predict.

 “We will try to capture as many elephants as possible ahead of the monsoons,” he said.Assistant Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Ajai Mishra, said that the department had sought support from the police to control the crowd. “Residents of villages in nearby regions have also been requested not to gather in large numbers and co-operate with the department staff.”

Staff protest

Staff of Alur Forest Range, earlier during the day had refused to take part in the operation, demanding that a case be booked against individuals, who had man-handled Range Forest Officer, M K Devaraj and others.

Later, Appu Rao visited the staff members and requested the officials to withdraw the protest, and promised that cases will be booked against offenders. M K Devaraj said that a case has been registered at Alur police station, against 35 individuals.

“We have provided names of six persons to the police and also a video clipping of Forest department staff being man-handled,” he said. While two persons have been arrested by the police following the case others are currently absconding. Obstructing a government official from discharging his duties and life threat are among the allegations made in the case.

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