Heart-wrenching moments after tiger attack at Bandipur
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Heart-wrenching moments after tiger attack at Bandipur

April 21, 2024

Mother elephant’s grief brings weekend traffic to a standstill for more than two hours

Mysore/Mysuru: In a poignant incident at Bandipur Tiger Reserve, a tiger’s assault on an elephant calf triggered a traffic standstill lasting more than two hours, as the mother elephant adamantly refused to abandon her deceased offspring and obstructed the roadway.

The event unfolded yesterday along the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, as a prowling tiger pounced on a three-month-old male elephant calf while its mother was foraging along the Mysuru-Ooty Road, which traverses Bandipur.

Despite the mother elephant’s brave efforts to shield her calf, the tiger’s ferocious attack inflicted severe injuries upon the young elephant.

The big cat’s assault left the calf grievously wounded and was bleeding from the wounds and died. However, the distressed mother steadfastly stood her ground on the road, safeguarding her offspring from further harm and inadvertently causing a disruption in vehicular traffic.

Numerous onlookers, deeply moved by the calf’s suffering, alighted from their vehicles and congregated to witness the heart-rending spectacle. Despite the mother elephant’s repeated attempts to rouse the motionless calf by nudging it with her hind legs, the calf remained still, while the tiger lurked in the nearby foliage, awaiting an opportunity for the mother elephant to leave and enable it to feast on its prey.

As some vehicles attempted to proceed by the side, the mother elephant grew increasingly agitated, making aggressive gestures by forcefully nodding her head and trumpeting. Yesterday being a Saturday, the road was bustling with vehicles transporting weekend travellers.

Recognising the imminent danger and potential chaos, forest officials promptly intervened to avert further chaos. The heart-wrenching scene of the mourning mother elephant, confronting the vehicles with her lifeless calf, cast a solemn pall over the busy roadway.

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Forest officials initiated a mission to guide the distressed elephant away from the thoroughfare and towards the safety of the forest. Employing earthmoving equipment, they successfully guided the grieving elephant into the woods.

Despite their attempts to dissuade her with the machinery, she persisted in charging towards them, driven by maternal instinct and anguish.

After considerable effort and perseverance, the forest officials successfully guided the mother elephant into the forest, away from the main road. Using an earthmover, they                                                           lifted the calf’s carcass and transported it into the forest, where the mother elephant was last observed.

Gradually, traffic movement resumed along the road. Nevertheless, the tragic event deeply affected travellers, particularly those who bore witness to the mother elephant’s anguished cries for her lost calf. Clearing the resulting traffic jam took some time as the vehicles crossed the place from both sides. Bandipur Tiger Reserve Director Prabhakar, ACF Naveen Kumar, and DRFO Deepa led                       the clearing task.

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