A retired forest guard was killed by a wild elephant while attempting to provide medical treatment to the injured tusker at Halliyur in Alur taluk in the Hassan district on Thursday. The forest guard, identified as Venkatesh (67), was an expert in tranquillising wild elephants.
The elephant, named Bhima, known for its docile nature, turned aggressive during the treatment procedure. Venkatesh succumbed to his injuries in the hospital, said officials.
Officials stated that the forest department had organised a treatment operation for the injured Bhima. “As part of the procedure, Venkatesh attempted to administer a tranquilliser to the elephant. However, the shot missed its mark, and the elephant suddenly attacked Venkatesh, trampling on his stomach,” said a senior official.
Despite receiving immediate medical attention, Venkatesh’s condition worsened, leading to his demise at the hospital.
A video recording, which HT has seen, captured the chaotic scene, showing staff desperately shouting for help while trying to fend off the elephant’s attack. The footage shows the intensity of the situation, including the frantic efforts to rescue Venkatesh and transport him to the hospital.
Venkatesh, a native of Honnavalli village in Aluru taluk, joined the Forest Department on a contract basis in 1987. He continued to work on a contract basis until his retirement from the forest department in 2019. However, Venkatesh’s role remained crucial during the capture of wild elephants. Forest department officials relied on Venkatesh’s expertise during every operation. He played significant roles in capturing tigers, leopards, and bears.
Venkatesh also played a vital role in the relocation of wild animals and the installation of radio collars. He used to inoculate tigers, leopards, and bears and participated in forest capture operations in various other states, including Goa, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh.
“We have lost a dedicated and efficient worker. We will provide a ₹15 lakh ex-gratia to the family members of the deceased,” stated DCF D Mohan Kumar.” “Venkatesh had participated in numerous operations over the last two decades, but his unfortunate death by an elephant was unexpected,” he added.