Madikeri: A couple saved life from an angry elephant when the wild tusker attacked a car and tried to crush it on the fringes of Nagarahole National Park.
This spine-chilling incident happened at Kutta in South Kodagu when a wild elephant suddenly came out from a coffee estate and charged at the car and tried to smash the vehicle. The terrified couple, Konganda Devaiah and wife Veena, was inside the car when the elephant attacked them.
Elephant attacks have become common in South Kodagu and only last week one coffee planter was trampled to death by a tusker. However, Devaiah and Veena were lucky to escape from the jaws of death.
On Wednesday at around 6.30 am, Devaiah and Veena left their home at Nanachi Begur in their Maruti 800 car. Their house comes on the fringes of Nagarahole National Park. As they moved around 500 metres on the main road, Devaiah spotted a tusker that was standing by the side of a coffee estate.
“I stopped the car assuming that the tusker might attack us. I reversed the car and went up to a distance of 10 feet and the tusker ran towards us. We were inside the car as we feared that getting out of the car will give an opportunity for the tusker to attack us. Trumpeting, the tusker gored the bonnet of the car and made a hole on it and it vigorously shook its head,” Devaiah explained.
“Not stopping at this, the elephant shook the car a couple of times with its tusks and trunk. We had lost all hopes of survival and were resigned to our fate. The enraged pachyderm then came near the driver’s seat and gored the door and at the same time hit the door violently with its trunk,” Devaiah narrated.
“We thought that the tusker would overturn the car and trample us. We decided to open the car doors and run for our lives. There was a danger here too as the elephant could chase us and we could become easy targets. Fortunately, the elephant suddenly stopped its attack and ran back into the woods,” he said.
Taking some time to recover from the harrowing experience, Devaiah drove the damaged car back to his house. “It is due to sheer luck that we escaped death. We will have to think twice before venturing out of our houses now. The situation would have been worse if we were walking on the same stretch at that time,” Devaiah said.
As Kutta and surrounding areas that is surrounded by coffee estates, it is easy for the elephants from Nagarahole National Park to enter the human habitation. “Elephant menace is rampant here and herds of pachyderms raid coffee estates and paddy fields in the night and they return to the forests in the morning. I have seen elephants crossing the estates a couple of times. Elephants enter the plantations in search of food and water mostly during summer as the waterholes inside the forest would have dried up,” he added.
Devaiah recalled last week’s incident where coffee planter Chokira Sudha Kuttappa was trampled to death on the Srimangala-Kutta main road. “Fortunately, we escaped and only our car has been damaged. The Forest Department has failed us as so far they have not taken any concrete measures to prevent the elephants from entering into human habitat,” he added.