Indian elephants: Karnataka move put on hold

Indian elephant
Image caption Encroachment of elephant habitat has led to a man-animal conflict.

The Indian authorities have put on hold a plan to relocate wild elephants in the southern state of Karnataka.

This follows a court instruction to the government to seek advice from experts in India and Africa before moving up to 30 elephants from two districts.

Farmers have been protesting against growing attacks by the elephants. Two people have died in the attacks.

The court said the animals should live in their natural habitat and it is up to humans to adjust.

The government had planned to relocate between 25 and 30 elephants from the districts of Hassan and Kodagu, some 225km (139 miles) from the capital, Bangalore.

Forest officials had planned to capture the elephants and move them to the Bandipur-Nagarhole forest area in the state.

Wildlife groups had opposed the government's move, saying it was not a solution to man-animal conflict.

"Elephants are very sensitive and cannot be moved from their natural habitat. They will go astray if they are moved to another area," Yelappa Reddy, a former forest official, said.

One of the main reasons for the degradation of forests in India was the illegal felling of trees and removal of firewood by villagers, forcing animals to move out of their habitat.

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