” Karnataka alone has lost 100 elephants in less than a year and it is mainly female elephants that are dying .” The wood cracked as the smoke curled up , warming up the air. Mithun the naturalist in Bandipur is speaking to the guests. He moves on from one group to the other .The conversation gets heated.More figures are rattled. Unofficially it is claimed that 40 elephants in just 15 days have died..”maybe an exaggeration,” someone muttered, chewing on groundnuts.”It is a serious concern,” he cried indignantly. “Didnt you read the papers ? Its poisoning and not poaching,” He moved on to the next table..” So , did you enjoy the safari ? Did you see the herd ? Oh ! yesterday, there was a herd at the hilltop…” conversations drown in the drinks as tourists take over the conversation from conservation. “Give me a beer please !And a sprite for me !”
“Travelling today is all about badge value,” I say. ” I agree,” he nods. Tourists , today have a lot of disposable income, are educated , but their idea of a holiday is to come, get drunk, listen to loud music , eat good food and party ! Thats ok, but why come to a wild life destination..you could do that in any resort ? ” And of course,throw a mineral water bottle or a lays chips plastic cover around ..” lol…
“Hi,do you need a wake up call ? 5.30 am ..that would be great ?” “By the way, Mithun,what was that about elephants .. ? Mithun turns around and the conversation goes back to conservation .” They are electrocuted, poisoned as there is a conflict..last time 60 elephants barged into a sugarcane field..their corridor is taken over by man. Resorts are being set up in their corridor..a recent upmarket resort with just 10 acres of built up area has fenced 40 acres and thats the crucial corridor, ” His fingers trace a satellite map which shows the elephant trail..” Hey, do you want to go tomorrow after the safari to the villages ? You will get their perspective.”Sounds good to me !