A herd of about eight elephants, comprising six adults and two calves, was spotted in a sugar cane field near Belur Industrial Area on the outskirts of Dharwad City on Wednesday morning.
The elephants have been camping on a 10-acre field belonging to Ningappa Badavannavar since Tuesday night, the villagers said. They have strayed into the fields in search of food. The villagers tried to chase them away by beating drums and bursting crackers but in vain. They alerted the police and the Forest department officials, who tried to chase away the pachyderms.
Ningappa said the pachyderms had completely destroyed his sugar cane fields. The wheat cultivated in the adjoining fields have also been destroyed in the melee to chase away the jumbos.
A team of 40 forest guards are camping in the region to accomplish the task of chasing the jumbos to the Alnavar forests. They have instructed the villagers not to panic or disturb the jumbos and have also told them not to venture out of their houses during night hours.
A forest official said that their priority was to ensure the herd did not enter the City limits or National Highway 4 during night. The department is also planning to bring in trained elephants from Haliyal in Uttara Kannada district.
The presence of a large number of people hindered the officials’ task. The officials believe that these elephants were the ones that were spotted in Kittur and Bailhongal a week ago, and they had now strayed into Dharwad district. As per the information provided by the Forest department officials in Belagavi, the herd had split into two and had now united again.