Tipsy jumbos on prowl, spurious liquor to blame

DECCAN CHRONICLE | M.B. GIRISH
Published Oct 1, 2015, 12:38 pm IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 3:41 pm IST
The elephants have developed a taste for toddy
The elephants have developed a taste for toddy which could be why they are exhibiting aggressive behavior
 The elephants have developed a taste for toddy which could be why they are exhibiting aggressive behavior

CHIKKAMAGALURU: Forest officials in Mudigere division of Chikkamagalaru who have been tracking the behaviour of rogue elephants in the area, have begun to suspect that the pachyderms have developed a taste for spurious liquor.

They feel the elephants have developed a taste for toddy which could be why they are exhibiting aggressive behavior. However, the officials want specific reasons for elephants turning unnatural in the wild, to be studied.  Tracking elephants and noting their behavior for about six months in Mudigere, Assistant Conservator of Forests, Mudigere, Dinesh Kumar told Deccan Chronicle on Wednesday that one of the probable reasons for unnatural behavior of elephants might be because the jumbos developing taste for spurious liquor which is being prepared in parts of Javali, Megur and surrounding parts in deemed forest areas and also outside some of the coffee estates in the region.

“It has also come to our notice that elephants destroy barrels used in the preparation of spurious liquor,” the ACF said. Meanwhile, villagers in the vicinity have brought to the notice of forest officials the chances of elephant’s addiction to spurious liquor.

“We aren't sure about the spurious liquor angle. But it needs to be studied. It is not their natural behavior and for some reason, elephants are behaving unnaturally,” Mr Dinesh said. Usually, elephants move from place to place in search of food and water but in Mudigere, some elephants have come to the same place even after being driven away, where they create problems.

With the help of camera traps, forest officials have identified eight troublesome elephants in the region and Mr Dinesh has written a letter to DCF, Chikkamagaluru asking for steps to relocate these elephants from the Mudigere forests to prevent attacks on humans and raids on agricultural fields.

Wildlife scientist Sanjay Gubbi pointed out that since jaggery is used in the preparation of spurious liquor, elephants through a strong sense of smell detect toddy manufacturing places and raid them. “It has come to our notice that elephants are tasting spurious liquor in and around Bannerghatta where forest officials often raid and destroy spurious liquor dens,” Mr Gubbi said and felt that chances of elephants tasting spurious liquor might exist in Mudigere as well.

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Location: Karnataka




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