Madikeri: The operation to drive back elephants from a coffee estate in Madikeri, which began yesterday morning and stalled in the evening due to bad light, resumed this morning.
Yesterday morning, the Rapid Response Team (RRT) from Kushalnagar and Madikeri Forest Department personnel numbering about 30, led by Madikeri Range Forest Officer (FRO) Nehru, who followed the footprints of the two elephants inside a coffee estate, were informed that the elephants had moved towards Talathamane from Madikeri side.
The RRT and the Forest Department personnel, to prevent the elephants from crossing the Madikeri-Talathamane connecting road and entering villages, burst crackers and fired gunshots in the air to keep the elephants in the vicinity of coffee estates.
The RRT and Forest staff was divided into four teams to prevent the two elephants from getting separated and was successful in sending them back to the coffee estate. The elephants after entering the coffee estate, turned towards an estate near Ramya Service Station on Moornad Road. But the teams, assuming that the elephants may create havoc if they are driven from Moornad road side, drove the elephants towards Shanthigiri Estate. But the elephants, which came up to Shanthigiri Estate Gate, refused to move towards the forest and entered a coffee estate and disappeared.
Meanwhile, DC Srividya and Forest Officer Nehru, who arrived during the operation, collected information from the RRT and Forest personnel and asked them to take precautions to safeguard the lives of the residents during the operation and also suggested them to block the road. The DC asked the SP to deploy adequate personnel to close the traffic on the road. As it became dark yesterday evening, the operation to drive the elephants back to the forest was suspended but the RRT and the Forest Department teams kept vigil to prevent the elephants from straying into villages.