Instances of man-animal conflicts have increased across the country as a result of rapid urbanization. Every year hundreds of animals die in encounters between man and animals. Reports of animals dying in accidents in suburban areas and highways have gone up.
A 46-year-old tusker died after it was hit by a bus in Nagarhole near Hunsuru in the wee hours of Monday, October 8. The jumbo sustained serious injuries after a speeding bus rammed into it. The tusker popularly known as Rowdy Ranga was rescued near the outskirts of Bengaluru and shifted to a camp.
Ranga was trained and was supposed to join other tuskers at the world-famous annual Dusshera procession at Mysuru in Karnataka. But Ranga's death has raised growing concerns of vehicular movement in forest areas.
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Prasanna, a wildlife activist said, " We remember Ranga as one of the most active elephants in Bengaluru rural. There are no instances where has entered a village and killed any person. The government had rescued the elephant and shifted Ranga to a camp. Many urban projects like the Nice Road and civic body's like the BDA have flouted rules and destroyed elephant corridors. Now, who is responsible for his death?"
Earlier similarly the centre had proposed to lift night traffic ban in Bandipur tiger reserve but after coming under criticism the Karnataka government rejected the proposal. It is said that the Kerala government is using all its clout to lift the ban. Reports suggest that the alternate road to this is via the Nagarhole National park where the tusker died.
Vehicular traffic in and around forest areas is a rising cause of concern as animals continue to pay a heavy price for urbanization. Apparently, there was a similar case where an Indian Gaur was killed in an accident a few years ago on the same road.
As an acknowledgment of the important role played by the elephants in the social, religious and cultural life of people in India, elephants were declared as a National Heritage Animal in the year 2010. It's high time that governments intervene and prevent such man-animal conflicts in the future.