Flora and FaunaWildlife


Meera Bhardwaj:

It has been a very scary year for wild elephants in Karnataka which is said to have the highest population (6072) of elephants in the country. The state has witnessed a horrendous death of 7 elephants due to electrocutions and another 8 deaths due to various other reasons. These statistics of elephant deaths was revealed by the union Minister of Environment and forests in the Parliament recently.

Further, it has been a tumultuous year with human-elephant conflict rising resulting in 23 human deaths and the Karnataka government hiking the compensation amount from Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh to the family of victims.

Take a peek at the statistics of elephant deaths in Karnataka due to unnatural causes. If one elephant died in a road kill, two were shot dead, three were found dead, one poached and one died during capture operations.


Month           Area                Causes

17 Dec         Periyapatna         Balarama Shot by farmer (Injured)

13 Dec         Bandipur            Death on NH-766 (1 Road kill)

22 Sept       Ballupete               Sakleshpur (1 found dead)

13 June Sattegala Elephant tusks seized near Kollegal

8 June         Bhadra                  2 tusks found (1 poached)

1 June         Virajpet                Tranquillization (1 Elephant died)

27 May         Belur                  Gurgihalli, Hassan (1 Shot dead)

26 April      Chikkamagaluru   Sale of Ivory chess pawns

28 Jan         Nagarhole              Sulugodu (1 Elephant shot dead)

23 Jan         Yelandur                Chamarajanagar (1 found dead)

With agricultural fields abutting forests and the state seeing continuing diversion of forest lands resulting in fragmentation and destruction of elephant corridors, it is a do or die situation for these gentle giants.

The districts of Hassan, Kodagu, and Mysuru are facing the brunt of the man-elephant conflict with frequent incursions of the pachyderms into fields, coffee estates and other plantations.

And therefore, many farmers have illegally installed electrified fencing around their farmlands with the result, incidents of electrocutions are increasing year after year. This year, there was 7 cases of electrocutions in the state.


Date           Area                      No. of deaths

30 Nov       Nandibatlu            Chikkamagaluru (1 dead)

25 Sept       Channahalli          Shettihalli (2 females dead)

25 July        Siddapura             Kodagu (2 dead)

7 July          Moleyur                 Bandipur (1 dead)

4 May         Attimangala              Virajpet (1 dead)

Elephant raids has resulted in both deaths of humans and destruction of crops and property. The situation is so bad in three taluks of Hassan district (Sakleshpur, Alur and Belur) that farmers have taken law into their own hands.

Recent reports reveal that farm owners have started digging deep trenches around their farmlands so that elephants are trapped in these very deep pits and do not enter their farmlands. Such a move will result in untold miseries and either severely injure or kill the jumbos.

As per MoEF&CC statistics, 348 elephants have been electrocuted in the last five years in the country while rail tracks have claimed 80 elephant lives and poaching another 41 deaths.

Till both the centre and state governments take appropriate measures to stop diversion of forests and protect corridors, the conflict between humans and elephants are going to continue in the days to come.