Residents of Chitradurga district are on high alert once again after two people were attacked by stray elephants in Aytholli village in the last couple of days.
C Kaatappa was injured early on Wednesday morning and was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital. While his condition remains serious, another resident, Ravi, who was attacked on Tuesday, was discharged from the hospital.
The two elephants, which have strayed from their herd, travelled from Challakere and were last seen in Papenahalli, said officials in the Forest Department. “We are doing nothing to harm the elephants. They are not destructive unless they are provoked. We have made announcements on radio and TV to alert residents. A team of officers has also gone to the villages where the elephants might appear and have advised people to remain vigilant,” said Chandrashekar Nayak, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Chitradurga district.
The Forest Department has sought the help of the local police to help secure the safety of residents. Police officials have been deployed in villages near Papenahalli, and will remain on high alert unless notified otherwise.
The incident comes just a few weeks after two youth were injured in Kallahatti village by reportedly the same elephants. Shafiullah and Sandeep, residents of the village, were attacked when they began throwing stones at the animals in the hope of driving them away.
“The problem arises when residents disturb the elephants by throwing stones at them or taking selfies with them. We have requested people to not disturb the animals,” said Nayak.
Mohan Kumar, a member of Osai Environmental Organisation, involved in wildlife conservation, noted that incidents of conflict between people and elephants are increasing. "Farmers who live on the fringes of forests should avoid confrontation with elephants …They don't know how to handle situations where an elephant strays from its herd and comes to areas where people live. They should be made aware of ways to interact with stray elephants without hurting them," he said.