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Permission sought to capture two elephants

Jeevan Chinnappa

The rogue elephants are reported to be roaming in the Polibetta region


Plantation workers took out a rally recently

54 people killed, 88 elephants died in the last 10 years


Madikeri: Meera Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary to the State Government, Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment, has sought the permission of the Centre to capture at least two more trouble-making elephants in the vulnerable areas of Kodagu district.

In a letter to A.N. Prasad, who is the Inspector-General of Forests and Director, Project Elephant, Union Ministry of Forests and Environment, on August 16, Ms. Saxena has sought permission to capture and translocate the problematic elephants in Kodagu district since they posed danger to human life. A copy of the letter was gathered by The Hindu on Friday.

She has said that the coffee plantations and allied industry in Kodagu district employed over 2.5 lakh people in remote and hilly regions of the district.

Ms. Saxena said the elephant menace had increased dramatically in recent years becoming a threat to human life and property in the district. Attempts to drive away the elephants into reserve forests had proved futile. Therefore, she has requested the Centre to permit capture of at least two trouble-making elephants and trans-locate them. However, the Centre is yet to approve the proposal.

On seeking clarification, sources in the Forest Department said that efforts were on to identify two rogue elephants at Polibetta and surrounding areas, where they had killed a few persons in recent times. Plantation workers, various associations and corporates had taken out a rally recently demanding the Government take steps to end the elephant menace in Polibetta recently.

Conflict

Man-elephant conflicts had been a regular feature in Kodagu district with the elephants killing people and the animals themselves coming under attack. Fifty four people died in 10 years, from 2001-02 to 2009-10 (till January), in Kodagu in elephant attacks and 88 elephants have died, mostly due to natural causes.

Of the 88 elephants that have died, 65 died of natural causes. Ten elephants have been electrocuted in various parts of the district and seven died of illnesses. Six elephants, that were shot at when they had strayed into plantations or crop areas, died of bullet wounds. Surprisingly, there is no record of poaching in the district.

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