In a rescue operation which lasted nearly four hours, forest officials in Kodagu district rescued five elephants stuck in a water reservoir in Palangala village in Virajpet taluk of the district.
The herd of elephants was spotted on Tuesday night as they were passing through a coffee plantation near Palangala. "We presume the herd arrived at the pond in search of water. However, in the process they must have fallen into the water," Regional Forest Officer (RFO) Gopal said.
According to the RFO, the reservoir was dug up by farmers during the summer to water the coffee plantation. "Due to darkness, the herd must have fallen into the pond," he added.
Forest officials reached the spot at around 8 am on Wednesday morning after being alerted by Mittu Aiyappa, a coffee grower in Palangala. However, the operation was delayed due to the late arrival of the earthmover machine.
While one group of rescue officials carved a way out of the pond using an excavator machine, another group burst crackers to scare the animal in the direction of the forest area. "Eventually, around 11.30am we were able to rescue all the mammals from the water body, " RFO said.
According to officials, shortage of rain in the region and scarcity of grazing forest area has increased the human-animal conflict especially in Palangala.
Over the last few years, forest officials have attempted to dig trenches, set up solar and iron fences, spike pillars, among the solutions to resolve the human-animal conflict in Kodagu. However, the issue continues to persist.
Over the years, forest officials have attempted digging elephant trenches, setting up solar fencing, iron fencing, spike pillars among other solutions to resolve this problem.
While locals along with officials have recently rescued about nine elephants in the last month from water reservoirs, one elephant was shot-dead by unidentified assailants. The elephant was shot dead last Thursday in the same village by unidentified assailants and forest officials are investigating the case.
Story by Story Infinity (Subs and Scribes Media Ventures LLP.)