Wild elephants encounter human habitates

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Mysore, Nov 10 (UNI) In an act of great bonhomie, herds of wild elephants, numbering over 100, roamed in the human habitats of Nanjangud and H D Kote Taluks in this district of Karnataka, where four of their clan were buried after being killed last week.

However, the 'disturbed' groups of pachyderms were driven back to the forests after a toil by the forest department personnel today.

Meanwhile, forest department sources said the elephants charged at the villagers at some places before being driven back to the Chikkadevara Betta forest area.

Last week, four elephants which 'intruded' into agricultural fields were found dead after they came in contact with electric fencing put up unauthorisedly by the farmers on the fringes of the forest.

The human and wild elephant encounters have become common in the area known for the biggest congregation of wild Asian elephants due to the shrinking habitat.

The villagers said the restless animals might have turned up in the area following the stinks emanating from the dead elephants buried in the vicinity last week. The herds moved in the same area for the last three to four days where the elephants' bodies were cremated.

However, the forest officials maintained that jumbos could have developed a taste for the standing crops of paddy, ragi and banana grown in plenty in the area and stayed back for the same reason.

This is the second incident that the large number of elephants have encountered humans in the two taluks since last one week.

Disturbed over the frequent incidents of unnatural deaths of about 25 elephants during the last six months in the biosphere, the Karnataka High Court had taken up a suo moto case and asked the Karnataka government to tender an explanation.

The court also came down heavily on the forest department for its inability to stop the killings.

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