By Nikhil Deshmukh
KOLHAPUR: A team of Karnataka state forest officials on Friday evening caught two wild elephants with the help of four tamed elephants at Mangaon village in Sindhudurg district. Though the wild elephants were caught in Konkan, their presence is also recorded in Kolhapur where several farmers have lost their crops due to the damages.
The team was tracking the movement of the herd of wild elephants since February 9. The wild elephants damage crops of hundreds of farmers every year as it moves in the dense forest areas between Kolhapur and Konkan. The village is known for frequent elephant sitings as well as for crop damages and attacks on domestic animals.
Senior forest officer from Karnataka state forest department Umashankar along with his team of 25 trained officials and four trained elephants - Abhimanyu, Arjun, Gajendra and Harish- recorded their major success on Friday evening when they caught two wild elephants at Mangaon village, which is located almost at the base of Sahyadri mountain ranges.
"It is a joint project between Maharashtra and Karnataka with the support of union ministry for forest and environment. We have traced the presence of three elephants in the forests of Sahyadris, who seem to have wandered from the jungles of Karnataka in search of food and water. Two elephants have been caught so far, who are sedated for some time. We are now tracing the third elephant," Umashankar said.
The officials used tranquilizers to bring the elephants under control. They will now be trained with the help of the tamed elephants before they being transported to other locations. The trained elephants are from Rajiv Gandhi Park in Mysore.
Sources in the forest department said that the lone elephant is more dangerous than those caught. Efforts are being made to catch the animal in time before any more damage is caused.