Andhra’s request for Karnataka’s jumbos rejected
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Andhra’s request for Karnataka’s jumbos rejected

June 9, 2024

Mysore/Mysuru: The wildlife of Karnataka presents a rich tapestry of experiences for both locals and visitors alike. Covering approximately 45 percent of the Western Ghats, the State boasts of national parks, elephant camps, wildlife sanctuaries and expansive forests.

This natural abundance has long been a source of admiration and pride for the residents and at the same time, it is a matter of envy for neighbouring States. In a recent development echoing the sentiment of an old TV commercial that said, ‘Neighbour’s Envy; Owner’s Pride,’ it has been revealed that Andhra Pradesh has shown keen interest in acquiring elephants from Mathigodu and Dubare Elephant Camps.

Bheema and Junior Abhimanyu

Andhra Pradesh authorities have requested Karnataka Forest Department to provide eight elephants, including Bhima, who is anticipated to carry the Ambari during future Dasara festivities and ‘junior’ Abhimanyu, reared in the Mysuru Zoo. However, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve officials have declined this request.

Karnataka, a leader in wildlife preservation and elephant training in India, frequently receives requests from various States for their well-trained elephants. The State has already provided 57 elephants to States such as Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Previously, Andhra requested 22 elephants and has now requested for 8 more. Officials from Andhra visited Dubare and Mathigodu camps a few months ago and later sent letters to the Karnataka Government requesting four elephants from each camp.

Andhra Pradesh has shown interest in four elephants from Mathigodu, including 23-year-old Bhima, who has participated twice in Dasara as ‘Pattada Aane,’ along with Sri Ranga and Ganesha, which are used to tame wild elephants and ‘junior’ Abhimanyu, currently at Mathigodu camp. Additionally, they have requested four more elephants from Dubare camp.

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Forest officials refuse

The request made by the Andhra Forest Department officials has been politely rejected by senior officials from both Mathigodu and Dubare Camps. “We are facing a shortage of elephants and don’t have any surplus elephants,” stated Karnataka officials, thus turning down Andhra’s request.

Nagarahole Tiger Reserve Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF) Harshakumar Chikkanaragund confirmed that Andhra Pradesh had sent letters seeking elephants. “We have obtained reports from our veterinary doctors and cannot provide any elephants from Mathigodu Camp. We need the elephants currently in the camp and we will soon write a letter to the Andhra officials to inform them of this decision,” added the DCF.

‘Andhra has enough elephants; let them catch and tame’

We have so far given 57 elephants to other States, and now Andhra Pradesh has requested 8 more. Karnataka should not entertain such requests or give our elephants to anyone. There are enough elephants in Andhra itself; let them catch and tame those elephants. Why are they not asking for elephants from Kerala and Tamil Nadu? It is not right to capture wild elephants to give them to another State. We must capture wild elephants that are destroying our farmers’ crops and tame them at our camps, providing good food and health services. If we cannot take proper care of the captured elephants, why should they be captured at all? If the Government decides to give elephants to Andhra Pradesh, we will start an agitation. — Joseph Hoover, Environmentalist

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