Unruly Ranga turns demure darling at Bannerghatta

Unruly Ranga turns demure darling at Bannerghatta
Wild tusker Ranga, who is in the kraal area of the Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) for the last 15 days, is doing better than expected.

According to forest officials, the elephant - considered a rowdy due to his aggressive nature - has softened his behaviour within a fortnight after his capture. BNP director Javed Akhtar terms the sudden change in the elephant’s behaviour as “strange, but interesting.”

“Being a free-roaming animal, it was suspected that the jumbo will be aggressive in confinement. But to everyone’s surprise, there is a drastic improvement in the pachyderm’s behaviour,” he said.

This could be because of many reasons. Among them is the presence of elephant Arjuna, who helped the Forest department capture Ranga, who is in masth (heat). In animal behaviour, if a more powerful male is in heat, the other males retract. Arjun’s smell must be too strong for Ranga, which has made him control his temper. Another reason may be that Ranga is surrounded by familiar captive cow elephants of the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP), which may be making him feel at ease. The elephant enclosure at BBP is not new to Ranga. He has been a frequent visitor to the area in search of a mate, Akhtar said.

Ranga will remain in the kraal area for at least another 10 days. The chief wildlife warden is yet to decide on whether Ranga should be relocated to another camp or be tamed and kept in BNP itself, said the veterinarians treating him.

Animal lovers have launched a social media campaign demanding that Ranga be released back into the wild. They point out that capturing and taming wild elephants is no solution to resolve the increasing man-elephant conflict. They demanded that the government  intervene and restrict development and agriculture activities around forest areas.

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