MYSORE: Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday tried to pick holes in the officials' explanation on wild elephants attacking human habitats, wondering as to why elephants have to migrate to wooded areas in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
When senior foresters tried to explain that the jumbos are migrating and that they have their own corridor, he asked: "If they are going to TN and Kerala, what are you doing? Is it not your job to stop them from going to the neighbouring states?"
During a quarterly review of Karnataka Development Programmes, the CM asked the foresters as to what action have they initiated to stop wild animals, especially elephants and tigers, from coming out of forests. Pointing at the four deaths caused by tigers in areas bordering Bandipur late last year, he asked about the follow-up action. Conservator of forests H C Kantharaju, who is also the director of Bandipur Tiger Reserve, attributed it to tigers out of the forest cover and attacking animals and humans. But the CM didn't buy the argument.
Additional principal chief conservator of forests C Srinivasan, who is field director (Project Tiger), intervened to explain, saying that tigers are pushed out of the woods owing to territorial fights. "This cannot be stopped," he stated. When Siddaramaiah asked him whether tiger reserves are not fenced, the APPCF said that tigers can jump up to 18 feet.
When asked about attacks by wild elephants, the officials explained that elephants migrate to Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and this cannot be restricted. Later, he asked the foresters to ensure that wild elephants don't trouble villagers and destroy crop.