New Delhi: Four young elephants went on a rampage in Mysore bringing the city to a complete halt and killing one and injuring few others. It was hours of mayhem as the tuskers went about damaging property, killing cattle.
The four elephants said to have entered the city from the nearby forest range of Narsipura created panic as they damaged property even as one person was trampled to death by the angry jumbo. The elephants have been captured.
"The young elephant that has been captured in the city was chased around like a street dog. They never allowed the animal to sort of settle down," said Ajay Mishra, ACF, Mysore.
The angry tuskers managed to kill some cattle, injuring a few persons. After three hours of mayhem, one animal was tranquilised by forest guards, while efforts are still on to track the second animal. So what agitated the animals and why did this incident occur?
"Elephants are large animals. They need a lot of living space. They possess individual personalities and in this case you had two large animals that lost their way. They were not holding city at ransom. They were not terrorists. They are victims indirectly," said Mahesh Rangarajan, chairman, Elephant Task Force.
Experts say that what happened in Mysore is indicative of a larger problem. There are 88 elephant corridors in the country and they don’t have any legal protection. Every year almost 400 people lose their lives to human-elephant conflict. In turn, 100 elephants are killed each year in retaliation.
The environment Ministry had in fact set up a special task force to deal with this problem but many of the recommendations are yet to be implemented.
"Task force report suggested a minimum ex gratia of 3 lakh and in the areas of high conflict, a permanent conflict management force which includes experts who know about props, who know animal behaviour, who can manage the conflict. So we need to manage this problem much more seriously," said Mahesh Rangarajan.
Even as the city of Mysore copes with this elephantine crisis, the pachyderms have raised alarm bells and the need to ensure the rights of passage for the jumbos.