Repeated appeals by villagers to relocate the herd go in vain
Tension gripped several villages of Vedurukuppam mandal of Chittoor district, after a youth was injured in the attack by wild elephants in the early hours of Monday. The youth, who was attacked by the elephant while working on a farm at Tallabailu village, was rushed to SVRR Government Hospital in Tirupati.
At the same time, a house in the village caught fire when some youth burnt fireworks in a bid to prevent the elephants from nearing the human habitations.
The herd of three wild elephants, locally known as the Bachelor’s Group, which had entered Chittoor district in December last year from the Tamil Nadu forests, had strayed into the Nagari plains, 150 km from their habitat in the forests of V. Kota-T.N. border, in the second week of January, and damaged crops in a large area.
In February last, the jumbos attacked two farmers near Puttur, injuring them critically. The same month, they had blocked the Puttur-Chennai NH near Nagari on a couple of nights. Due to sparse forest cover in the region, the wild elephants have been raiding the crops at nights, while taking shelter on hillocks and denuded forests during the day.
In spite of repeated appeals by farmers of Karveti Nagaram, Vedurukuppam, Nagari, Puttur and Narayanavanam mandals to protect their crops and habitations from the jumbo attacks, the forest department officials say they find it difficult to accomplish the task of tackling the animals in the plains.
In February last, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) G.G. Narentheran said that ₹10 lakh was granted by the authorities to chalk out an action plan to drive the animals towards Seshachalam ranges near Tirupati. Poor staffing and non-availability of experts was said to be the reason for the continued delay in accomplishing the task.
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