Rail track fence claims life of elephant

Rail track fence claims life of elephant

The elephant died in an attempt to cross the railway track fence in Veeranahosahalli forest. Credit: DH Photo

A Forest Department railway track fence, which was built to prevent man-animal conflict in villages near forests, has claimed the life of an elephant. This happened in Veeranahosahalli forest, under Nagarahole National Park limits, in Hunsur Taluk on Saturday morning.

“Three elephants had strayed into villages on the fringes of Veeranahosahalli on Friday night. Forest department personnel had driven them back into the forests. However, one of them, a tusker, aged 42 years, had not returned. It was returning to the forest on Saturday, during the wee hours, from Veeranahosahalli village, when it tried to cross over the railway track fence. In its efforts, it got stuck in the middle,” said ACF S R Prasanna Kumar.

Forest department officials said, it was an identified rogue elephant and it would often raid human habitats. It has tried to cross over the fence near the official quarters of the RFO in the forest. It has taken the fence route, even though the gates, leading to the forest, had been kept open, they said.

It has to be recalled that only a couple of weeks ago, on December 4, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy had announced construction of a 500-km-long railway track fence at Alur and surrounding villages in Hassan district.

He had given his assurance to the people of Balupet and surrounding villages after they held a weeklong protest calling for a permanent solution to the jumbo menace.

Earlier, on December 1, Chamarajanagar MP R Dhruvanarayan had directed the Forest department officials to erect rail track fence to prevent elephants from straying into human landscapes, during the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee meeting. in the city.

It has to be recalled that the railway track fence was introduced by the Forest department a few years ago as a fool-proof solution to the straying of elephants into human habitats. But, now, it has proved fatal to the elephant, compelling the officials to rethink.

Recently, the Forest department had introduced concrete fence, especially in forests under Bandipur National Park. They are erected at places where elephant-proof trenches (EPTs) could not be dug, due to geographical and geological reasons. Earlier, the concrete structures had nails. They were removed, following a Supreme Court order, as there were possibilities of the wild animals getting injured. The cement structure cost around Rs 6,000 per metre.