View Full Version : Wild jumbos lose fear of humans

Mrudul Godbole
15-12-2011, 05:39 PM
Wild jumbos lose fear of humans
Familiarity breeds contempt, they say. This seems to be true even in the case of animals, particularly, wild elephants, who seem to have lost all fear of humans.
Increasing instances of pachyderms invading human inhabitations in the State only confirm this.
This not-so-desirable development, in fact, is worrying the State forest officials who’ve noticed perceptible changes in the behaviour of wild elephants, particularly, the ones which roam in the forests of Palakkad, Wayanad and Sabarimala.
The recent instance of a horde of wild elephants entering the pilgrims’ camp at Pandithavalam at Sabari Hills and its refusal to leave the scene despite frantic efforts by forest guards and police personnel underscores the seriousness of the issue.
“In the old days, wild elephants used to flee from human presence,” said the chief wildlife warden, Mr R.Raja Raja Varma. “But, that’s not the case anymore. These days, they come in search of human inhabitations. We’ve noticed radical changes in their behaviour.”
One major behavioural change noticed by the forest officials is that the pachyderms have become more emboldened. “They’ve become more familiar with human behavior,” added Mr Varma. “So, they neither fear nor shy away from humans.”
Depleting forest areas, hyperactive tourism, mushrooming resorts, and, blocked elephant corridor are the key factors which make the elephants familiar with humans. What attracted the wild elephants to Sabari pilgrims’ camp, however, was the smell of jaggery and salt.
“They just can’t resist such smell,” said Mr Varma. “Forest officials have observed that wild elephants despite being driven back into forests repeatedly return to human inhabitation, particularly, in Palakkad and Wayanad districts.”
The forest department is gearing up to order a scientific investigation to study the elephants' altered behavior.
“Such a study is inevitable in the interest of both the elephants and humans,” said Mr Varma.

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