MYSURU: Elephants have started raiding agricultural fields on forest fringes near Mysuru. In less than two weeks, over a dozen entered villages in separate incidents. There has been no major crop loss so far in the region, but farmers continue to live in fear since it's harvest time.
Forest officials are having a tough time controlling elephants, which come out through porous areas in Omkar and N Begur ranges of Bandipur National Park. They can easily enter human habitats and city areas. Since elephants migrate at night, there's every chance of the animals entering urban Mysuru.
Nearly a year ago, a herd of nine elephants wandered close to Mysuru's Outer Ring Road and after two days, officials succeeded in driving them back into the woods. Luckily, the herd didn't harm any lives but crops were destroyed on a large scale. Elephants are capable of causing great damage when disturbed, an official explained.
This harvest season, territorial forest officials are not taking any chances regarding the safety and protection of life and property. They have identified sensitive zones and deployed men to stop elephants, and also sought the cooperation of villagers and farmers. They have asked residents not to adopt any unusual methods to drive elephants away from their fields.
An officer claimed that elephant-proof trenches have collapsed, solar fencing has turned ineffective and installing railings all along the forest border is still pending. With this situation, it is impossible to prevent elephants coming out of forests.
DCF V Karikalan confirmed to TOI that around 15 elephants were driven into the forests recently. The problem peaks in November and December, and villagers too are cautious about protecting crops by adopting unscientific methods. "We have formed seven temporary anti-depredation camps and personnel have been stationed at vantage points in three territorial forest ranges. They will work along with eight anti-poaching camp personnel. We have also roped in villagers and told forest personnel to cancel all leave till December," Karikalan said.