Mysore witnessed chilling scenes on Wednesday after a young tusker and its mother,separated from a herd and strayed into the heart of the city,gored one person to death and killed a cow. The elephants that seemed to have strayed outside a diminishing elephant corridor of over 250 km stretching along the forests on the borders of Tamil Nadu,Karnataka and Kerala entered the city in the early hours of Wednesday and spread panic till noon before being tranquilised by forest officials.
The young tusker,which had further separated from its mother,wreaked havoc as it penetrated deep into the city startling walkers,joggers,and milk and newspaper buyers.
A security guard at an ATM,Renuka Prasad,55,who came in the path of the tusker,was gored and trampled even as people who were trailing the elephant tried to distract the animal from a distance. The wild tusker was finally suppressed after forest officials fired five tranquilliser shots at it. It had shown no signs of flinching after the first four shots fired through its nearly four hour stomp through the city.
Fearing for the lives of people,the local administration declared a holiday for schools and colleges when news of the rampage by the elephants spread.
The tranquilised young tusker was later tied,bound,and moved with the help of tame elephants from the Mysore palace. Forest officials said the stray would be sent back to the forest.
The elephants entered the city around 6 am from the T Narasipura forest region,around 24 km away from Mysore,where they were earlier sighted, Minister in charge for Mysore S A Ramdas said.
Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa announced a Rs 5 lakh compensation for the family of the deceased.
Incidents of wild elephants straying into urban fringes have become frequent in the southern part of the state over the last 10-15 years. In 1998,on New Years day,a herd of wild elephants strayed into the suburbs of Bangalore near the Banerghatta National Park.
On Tuesday,a question was raised in the Assembly on whether the government was aware of the increasing man-elephant conflicts in expanding towns on the fringes of forests.
The government had claimed it was not aware of such incidents.