Mysore, December 31, 2013: The Forest Department is awaiting a clearance from the Centre anytime now to capture trouble-making elephants in Alur and Arakalgud in Hassan district.
The State government had sought permission from the Centre to capture and tame the pachyderms instead of relocating them. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) set up a four-member committee to look into various aspects of the issue a few days ago.
The committee has been asked to submit a report as early as possible. It has also been asked to submit a report on the design of the proposed barriers to prevent man-elephant conflict in the Hassan-Kodagu border.
The committee is headed by R. Uday Kumar, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Project Elephant. The other members are the Chief Conservators of Forests, Kodagu and Hassan Circles, while the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Hassan Circle, is the member-secretary. Two more experts will be appointed.
Mr. Kumar confirmed to The Hindu that the information on the setting up of the committee was conveyed last week.
“The committee will identify and mark elephant herds which were on the rampage in Hassan district. We will form operational and tracking teams for venturing into the forests. A tentative schedule for the operations will be chalked out soon along with the logistics required,” he said.
Mr. Kumar said the committee would also decide the probable duration of the operations and the follow-up action. It would take into account the requirement of men, materials, vehicles, funds, and other expenditure. The staff should be equipped to deal with emergency situations with probable remedies to tackle such cases. The issues of setting up camps and their locations, training of elephants, veterinarians, mahouts, kavadis and supporting staff too would be addressed, Mr. Kumar said.
He said they were yet to decide on the number of elephants to be captured and the duration of the operation.
Construction of ‘kraals’ (enclosures for elephants after capture) would require a huge expenditure. Water would be a vital requirement as summer could hasten the drying up of water bodies in the forests and elephant camps.
“We have 91 captive elephants in different camps in the State. The probable addition of captured elephants could result in overpopulation. We need to address this issue too,” Mr. Kumar said.
The other issues which pose a challenge to the department are the stocking of medicines, including tranquilisers to dart and revive the animal. They will have to be imported from the United Kingdom. Even after securing the medicines, they can be stored only for a certain period within which they will have to be used.
Also, the captured elephants needed to be transported only in custom-made, multi-axle heavy lorries.