Forest officials were in for a surprise when an elephant that was part of an operation to capture a prowling tiger fled into the HD Kote forest in Mysuru district, forcing the officials to turn their attention to catching the jumbo.
The officials told PTI Wednesday that a tiger had wreaked havoc in and around Taraka dam backwater regions near Antarasante village, killing many cattle.
The locals lodged a complaint with the forest officials who planned to trap the tiger and four elephants were roped in, including the main pachyderms of Mysuru-Dasara festival--Arjun and Ashoka, Tuesday evening.
According to eyewitnesses, firecrackers were burst on spotting the tiger.
Hearing the sound, Ashoka reared up and the mahout fell down. The elephant then fled into the forest.
"Yes, the elephant ran away into the forest because it is in 'Musth'. We are keeping a track of it," Nagarahole Tiger Reserve forest conservator K M Narayanaswamy said.
Musth is a periodic condition in male elephants, characterised by highly aggressive behaviour and accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones.
Suspending the Catch Tiger Operation, forest officials are now focused on catching the elephant that is holed up in the dense forest.
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