Green Minute News
Elephants have been straying almost daily from Bannerghatta to human settlements in the last few weeks. And with people complaining, forest officials have been on their toes, tackling the man-elephant conflict day in and day out. However, wildlife activists allege that the jumbos are being pushed indiscriminately from one forest area to another.
In the video captured images here, one can see elephants being driven away by field staff at Jaipurdoddi, Bellankoppe road in the Harohalli Range. With fire crackers resounding, the forest field staff was seen driving them back to the forests. Vishnu Narayan, Bannerghatta Nature Conservation Trust alleged that elephants were having a tough time as they were being driven away from place to place. He adds, “Where are they supposed to go if they are pushed in this manner even as the fire crackers are disturbing and agitating the jumbos to no end. Each day it’s the same – the animals have no place to go…..”
To this Vijay Nishanth, urban conservationist adds, “All these days, we have been saying, the reduction in the ESZ will bring elephants and other wildlife at the doorsteps of man. And Bannerghatta’s ESZ being reduced by 100 sq kms has driven the final nail into the coffin. In some zones, the extent is as less as 100 meters. The solution is not driving the elephants back as their corridors and habitat have reduced but retaining the original ESZ extent/area proposed in 2016. If the revised ESZ draft (2018) notification is finalized, the conflict will escalate….”
Denying that elephant herds were being pushed back from one forest area to another, forest officials said, “Most elephants do not come out of the forests, only 10-15 per cent of them stray towards human settlements during the season. Now almost every day, we have been seeing elephants especially near Munninagara. These small herds are being driven back deep into the forests as many people have complained of frequent crop raids. Nowadays, jumbos have adapted so much that they frequently come to raid horticultural crops.”
A range official adds that all precautions are taken as it is very difficult to control them once they enter the villages. It is during the night time they come raiding the villages despite a 24 hour vigil. “We are using every method/measure which is safe for the animals so as to drive them peacefully back to the forests. We have never pushed them from forest to forest. We don’t want people to become revengeful and take law into their own hands and start harming the wildlife or the habitat.”