Jumbo attacked by fellow elephant dies

Jumbo attacked by fellow elephant dies

Dasara elephant Srirama, who was attacked by Gajendra—the elephant which had killed his keeper (kavadi) on Sunday—succumbed to injuries at K Gudi located in Biligiriranga Temple (BRT) Tiger Reserve on Monday. ­

Gajendra, who is in masth had started a fight with Srirama on Sunday evening. Ganapathi, Gajendra’s mahout, became a casualty in the process, as he had tried to control the elephants.

Elephants are known to become aggressive when they are in masth, and so has been the case with 56-year-old Gajendra, who has now broken off his shackles and fled from the camp. He is yet to be traced, and a major hunt is on for him. Gajendra is also one of the royal elephants, having donned the role of ‘pattada aane.’ He has so far taken part in 19 Dasaras.

Around four to five teams have been formed by the Forest department to capture the elephant.

Officials are desperately hoping that the elephant will eventually make its way back to the camp on its own.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, S S Lingaraju, Conservator of Forests and Director of BRT, said that domesticated elephants are being brought from various camps in the region to capture Gajendra.

Lingaraju said Ganapathi was a permanent employee of the Forest department and facilities would be extended to his family as per the government norms. One of the family members would get a job in the department on compassionate grounds, he added.
Dr Nagaraj, veterinarian of the Forest department, said that Gajendra’s behaviour was unprecedented, as it had never displayed such aggressiveness when it has been in masth the previous times. “This shows that the wild animal behaviour is unpredictable,” he said, adding that even domesticated elephants can become aggressive during masth.
He said that camp elephants are usually allowed into the forest to graze and mate. “The elephants are used to the drill and return to the camp. We are hopeful that Gajendra too will return on its own,” he said. However, the operation to track the elephant has been taken up to prevent any other untoward incidents.

Srirama, who died at 60, measured 2.65 metres in height. He was captured at Tithimathi forest range in 1969, and had taken part in the Dasara 14 times, as the flag bearer. Srirama was reared at Amba Vilas Palace for five years, before being shifted to K Gudi camp.

Members of the Wadiyar family, Vishalakshi Devi and Shashidevi, paid their last respects to the elephant. The elephant had not taken part during the last Dasara, as his leg was injured.

Gajendra, measuring 2.8 meters in height, was incidentally captured with the help of Srirama at Kattepura Forest Range of Kodagu district in 1987. The elephant has participated in Dasara 19 times.

Last rites

The last rites of Ganapathi were performed at Nagapura Tribal Rehabilitation Centre, near Hunsur in Mysuru district. He was serving as a permanent employee for the past three years at K Gudi elephant camp. Earlier, he was employed at Nagarahole National Park.

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