Wild jumbo attacks women at BBP

Earthmover driver manages to distract the elephant with engine noise

Wild jumbo attacks women at BBP

Two women were badly injured when a wild elephant attacked them inside the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP), near the elephant safari, on Tuesday.

Nagamma and Maheshwari were among 20 labourers and associates who were hired to asphalt the safari road, abutting the BBP boundary near the captive elephant enclosure.

The BBP had outsourced the work to Arun Kumar, a contractor. Kumar had sent 12 labourers to the spot for work. Four of them had brought their wives along, without prior permission. Around 9.30 am when the group was waiting for Kumar to arrive with JCBs and road rollers and brief them about their work, they saw a wild elephant emerge out of the forest. All the labourers ran in panic. The frightened and agitated elephant attacked two women.

According to Kumar, the elephant trampled Nagamma and flung Maheshwari 15 feet away with its trunk. Just then, the alert JCB driver set the vehicle into motion, successfully distracting the elephant with the engine noise and forcing it to run back into the forest. Forest officials then arrived at the spot with vehicles. The injured were taken to the Sanjay Gandhi Accident Hospital and Research Institute in Jayanagar. By afternoon, they were shifted to the Victoria Hospital for further treatment.

Nagamma, 50, wife of Narasimha, broke her ribs, injured the spleen and has internal bleeding. Maheshwari, 20, wife of Basavaraj, is being treated for a fractured shoulder. While Nagamma is still critical, Maheshwari’s condition is stable.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, BBP Director Range Gowda said that since the safari area and zoo area were next to the open forest, wild animals such as elephants and leopards did stray out. “This is not the first incident, but it can’t be anticipated either. Since it was a Tuesday, a holiday for the BBP, there was no safari and no visitors. There were also no captive elephants in their assigned solar enclosure.”

According to Gowda, it is noticed that because of the presence of captive female elephants, many wild males usually stray off, seeking courtship. “Captive elephants are let loose in the evenings and left free to wander into the forest with their offspring. The next morning, their mahouts trace them by following their chain marks and bring them back to their enclosure. This exercise is done every day, except on Tuesdays, when the park is closed and the staff are on leave. Hence, there is no chance of any attack by a captive elephant,” he added.

As per the contract, Kumar is bearing the medical expenses of the injured, Gowda said.

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