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Man-elephant conflict claims fifth life in Hassan district

A farmer was trampled to death by a tusker near Halekere in Sakleshpur taluk on Friday night. The incident came to light on Saturday morning when passers-by noticed the body and informed Forest Department officials.

This is the fifth death due to man-elephant conflict in the district since January.

Shivana Gowda, 65, of Halekere was walking home from a bus stop, after attending a funeral at Banavara in Arsikere taluk, when he encountered the elephant. The incident is believed to have happened around 7.30 p.m. He is survived by his wife, two sons, and a daughter.

Forest and police officials who reached the spot were met with irate villagers who demanded that the Deputy Commissioner visit and assure them of a permanent solution to the man-animal conflict in the area. Forest officials handed over a cheque for ₹2 lakh to the family members of the deceased.

Around 60 elephants have been roaming around parts of Sakleshpur and Alur taluks of Hassan district. Often, they raid agricultural fields.

Forest Minister Arvind Limbavali had, on February 16, held a meeting with people on this issue in Sakleshpur.

By and large, the fatal incidents involve tuskers separated from their herd. The Forest Department has installed radio collars on female elephants, who lead herds, so that their movements can be tracked and the public informed of their presence in advance. “It has been difficult to track the movement of lone tuskers. In fact, a tusker was spotted two days ago at the spot where the death occurred. We are seeking permission to either capture or attach radio collars on problematic tuskers,” said Basavaraj, Deputy Conservator of Forests.

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