The wild animals in Maddur and Moolehole forest ranges, close to Bandipur National Park, have been feeling tough to move about freely, thanks to the innumerable vehicles plying on NH-212 passing through the National Park and connecting Karnataka and Kerala, stretching a distance of 25 -m through the forest.
It has been a regular practice for the wild elephants to cross the road during day time. Of late, motorists are said to be driving the vehicles erratically and repeatedly honking to tease the pachyderms. Obviously the elephants would be infuriated and try to attack the vehicles.
To cite an example, Journalist K.N. Mahadevaswamy and press photographer Kiran Begur were chased by a wild elephant on Sunday afternoon and had a providential escape.
Everyday, thousands of vehicles, mostly heavy transport vehicles, ply on the road and it is said that the Forest Department has not put up enough warning boards and erected speed- breakers on the road passing through the forest area. Even regular patrolling is believed to be absent. Vehicular movement has been banned from 9 pm to 6 am on NH-67 and NH-212 but there is no restriction during day time and motorists go scot-free. It has been a common sight to see people travelling in vehicles to get down and click photos of wild elephants on mobile phones. A few even are said to indulge in drinking, sitting on the parapet.
Forest Department claims a staff crunch to exercise full control of the situation. A few warning boards have been erected instructing motorists not to stop the vehicles in the forest region.
Some of the boards have been destroyed by the elephants.
Patrolling by forest staff should be intensified during day time to prevent pranks by people which anger the elephants which basically are much more well-mannered than humans.