New Delhi — eleven wild elephants were driven away by forest rangers and police today that invaded a college campus in Bangalore and laid claim to a mango grove, trampling two people and terrifying residents for two days.
The Press Trust of India said the elephants came out of the forest Sunday night to occupy a mango grove on the campus of an engineering college in Bangalore, about 1,100 miles south of New Delhi. (Even though the elephants did not qualify for admission).
“Inhabitants of the area woke up in terror on Sunday night to the sound of trumpeting as a tusker, eight cows and two calves moved into the mango grove,” the news agency said.
Residents of three villages near the college set off firecrackers and beat tin cans in an unsuccessful bid to drive off the giant creatures. An initial foray of forest rangers found their jeep surrounded by the herd but managed to get away by firing into the air and fled into a college dormitory, the Press Trust said.
Wildlife warden M. K. Appaiah told the Press Trust a college student and a forest ranger were trampled when they tried to dodge the rampaging herd. Both survived but suffered broken bones. No further information was given on their injuries.
The warden said more than 75 forest officials and 20 policemen took part in the operation to drive the protected animals back into the adjacent Bannerghatta forest.
Forest department officials said the unusual intrusion of wild elephants into the suburban area is the result of the felling of trees by squatters in their forest habitat. (Elephants had come to lodge a formal protest against the squatters).
The officials said that, in recent months, rampaging elephants have caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage to sugarcane and other corps on farms near the forest.
The majority Hindu religion of India regards the elephant as a reincarnation of the god Ganesh the elephant headed son of Lord Shiva, god of destruction.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 1, 1985