The operation by the Forest Department to drive a herd of six elephants back into their habitat faced a setback due to a curious crowd and the electronic media at Mallasandra tank on Monday evening.
Three Dasara elephants Harsha, Vikram and Prashanth arrived at a nursery at Gollahalli to drive the herd back into the forest.
As the news spread, a large group gathered and followed the elephants through the route towards the tank on their motorcycles. People from nearby villages also came which resulted in more than 500 people gathering on the tank bed. Some climbed trees to get a clearer view of the operation.
Meanwhile, the tamed elephants carrying their mahouts descended into the tank which was full of water and swung into action.
Sensing this, the wild elephants gradually moved out to a farm on the other side. But a section of media people advanced towards the herd resulting in them taking a U-turn, complained Deputy Conservator of Forests Amarnath. The herd later got back into the water and took shelter in the bushes nearby. The operation will resume overnight as the tamed elephants and their handlers are ready, he said.