Bengaluru: A man was almost kicked by an elephant on the highway passing through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve on Sunday. The man, who has not been identified, happened to venture too close to an elephant herd, hoping to get a good picture. He got out of his car and walked toward the herd, holding a small camera in his hand.
According to eye witnesses, the herd gave him enough signs, warning him to stay away, but the man approached the elephants anyway. One member of the herd, a juvenile elephant, then began chasing him down the highway. The man ran for about 100 meters before the angry elephant decided to give up the chase. As there were vehicles on both sides of the road, the elephants quickly vanished into the wooded areas.
Elephant experts say that the herd, which had calves among its members, behaved like any other herd in its place would, had they sensed danger. “Although the Karnataka Forest Department has placed sign boards along the length of the highways that pass through Bandipur, instructing tourists to maintain a safe distance from the wild animals and not to provoke them at any cost, people are still imprudent and they will do foolish things like this,” said Praveen B R, Founder Trustee of Vanya Organisation.
The forest department has been patrolling the highways, discouraging people from halting because they see a wild animal. Stopping and alighting from a vehicle on roads that pass through wildlife areas is an offense, but the rule is hardly enforced and action rarely taken.
A few months ago, a foreigner cycling down on the Mudumalai-Masinagudi road was chased by a tusker. Cycling enthusiasts often use the Bandipur and Masinagudi roads, although experts are now demanding a ban on cycles on roads that run through elephant habitats.
“Two -wheelers and cycles are not allowed inside the Nagarhole Tiger Reserve, since it is elephant territory. There are also a large number of elephants present in the Bandipur-Mudumalai cluster, so cyclists should not be allowed to enter,” said an expert.