Bangalore: In a coincidence, the festival of elephant god (Ganesh Chathurthi) has also brought the real elephants closer to Bangalore.
Perhaps Bangalore is the only major city in India, which falls under the elephant corridor. Bangalore, which is 3000 feet above the sea level, is surrounded by forest areas and natural habitats of elephants. The Bannerughatta national park in the outskirts of the city is a major habitat of elephants. The unplanned growth of India's IT capital is threatening the existence of elephant habitats.
The angry and hungry elephants have now started entering the villages around Bangalore. Farmers have been suffering huge agricultural losses due to elephant menace. Sometimes, they even enter the newly developed extensions, which come under Bangalore Metropolitan area. Last week, a lone tusker entered villages on the Western border of the city. It destroyed standing crop, attacked many villages and even gored a 6 year old boy to death. More than 50 forest officials and other 25 police officials took almost 6 hours to bring the tusker under control.
Forest department officials blame the attitude of the villagers for the loss of human lives. An officer said "We often request them not to chase or follow elephants. We ask them not to click pictures of them. But, nobody listens to us. It results in the death of innocent people".
Before Bangalore became a big city, surrounding areas had a thick forest cover providing shelter and fodder to elephants. Private developers acquired agricultural lands, filled water bodies with mud and developed them into residential areas. It left hundreds of elephants with no food and water. Because of that the elephant menace is increasing every year, argue Wildlife experts.
According to Forest department, there are more than 500 elephants living in the 100-150 KM radius of the city and they often enter, causing loss to life and property, leaving behind a trail of destruction, when are chased back to deep forest.
Man can't regulate the movement of elephants. He has to regulate the growth of the city to prevent the menace say experts.